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Experts Discover New CloudMensis Spyware Targeting Apple macOS Users

 

Researchers in cybersecurity have revealed previously unknown malware targeting Apple's macOS operating system. The malware, nicknamed CloudMensis by the Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET, is reported to exploit popular cloud storage systems like pCloud, Yandex Disk, and Dropbox only for receiving attacker orders and exfiltrating files. 

"Its capabilities clearly show that the intent of its operators is to gather information from the victims' Macs by exfiltrating documents, keystrokes, and screen captures," ESET researcher Marc-Etienne M.Léveillé stated in a report published. 

CloudMensis was found in April 2022, written in Objective-C, and is intended to attack both Intel and Apple semiconductor architectures. The initial infection vector for the attacks, as well as the targets, are yet unclear. However, the malware's limited dissemination suggests that it is being utilised as a part of a carefully targeted operation targeting businesses of interest. 

ESET discovered an attack chain that exploits code execution and administrative rights to launch a first-stage payload that is used to retrieve and run a second-stage malware housed on pCloud, which exfiltrates documents, screenshots, and email attachments, among other things. 

The first-stage downloader is also known to delete evidence of Safari sandbox escape and privilege escalation attacks in 2017 that make use of four now-resolved security flaws, implying that CloudMensis may have gone undetected for many years. The implant also includes capabilities that allow it to circumvent the Transparency, Consent, and Control (TCC) security system, which requires all programmes to seek user permission before accessing files in Documents, Downloads, Desktop, iCloud Drive, and network volumes. 

It accomplishes this by exploiting another fixed security flaw known as CVE-2020-9934, which was discovered in 2020. The backdoor also allows you to access a list of running processes, capture screenshots, list files from removable storage devices, and launch shell commands and other arbitrary payloads. 

Furthermore, an examination of information from the cloud storage infrastructure reveals that the pCloud accounts were established on January 19, 2022, with compromises beginning on February 4 and spiking in March. 

M.Léveillé said, "The general quality of the code and lack of obfuscation shows the authors may not be very familiar with Mac development and are not so advanced. Nonetheless, a lot of resources were put into making CloudMensis a powerful spying tool and a menace to potential targets."