Chancers try to flog lame Mac malware for $60 a pop

Cross-platform NetWeird pathogen FAIL

Cybercrooks are attempting to obtain few bucks for a lame piece of Mac malware, dubbed NetWeird.

NetWeird (AKA NetWeirdRC) has been offered for sale for the princely sum of $60 through underground cyber-crime forums, according to Mac security specialist Intego. The cross-platform malware potentially affects OS X (versions 10.6 and higher), Windows, Linux and Solaris.

Like the Crisis superworm, Netweird is a commercial remote access tool. However that's where the similarities end. Crisis – the first strain of malware capable of infecting virtual machines – is effective in both hiding itself and infecting systems, unlike Netweird.

"While OSX/Crisis is an advanced threat which hides itself reasonably well, OSX/NetWeirdRC has a number of glaring issues. Perhaps the price-tag tells us all we need to know: OSX/Crisis sells for €200,000 [$250,500], and OSX/NetWeirdRC starts at $60," a write-up on the threat by Mac security specialists Intego explains.

Worse yet (or better yet, if you're a target), NetWeird simply doesn't work. "In testing, it was found that this malware is not persistent – perhaps due to a bug, it does not restart after a reboot, and will lie dormant unless it is manually restarted or removed," Intego researcher Lysa Myers explains. "It does add itself to the login items, but this does not succeed in restarting the malware; it will only open the user’s home folder at login instead."

Indications are that Netweird hasn't affected Windows or *Nix machines either and it only came to light because somebody submitted a sample of the malware to VirusTotal.

An assessment of NetWeird by Paul Ducklin, Sophos's head of technology, Asia Pacific, is even more dismissive.

"It's not very well-written; it's not very well-tested; it's probably not going to catch you unawares (but watch out if you're in a band!); and so far as we can tell, it's not in the wild," Ducklin concludes.

"NetWeird is interesting primarily because it is uninteresting," he adds, explaining that "it seems that the crooks really are getting into the habit of churning out new Mac malware, not to show how clever they are, but merely to see if they can repeat the trick that's worked on Windows for years: making money out of next to nothing."

NetWeird is lame partly because it installs itself into the target's home directory as an application bundle called, making its presence on compromised systems obvious. And even that functionality is buggy.

"It adds itself to your login items, presumably with the intention of loading up every time you reboot your Mac. But a bug means that it adds itself as a folder, not an application. All that happens when you log back in is that Finder pops up and displays your home directory," Ducklin writes in a blog post on the malware.

NetWeird is designed to phone home for instructions from a hacker-controlled server, hosted in the Netherlands. It's unclear how the malware would work, though presumably it would be part of a targeted attack and it would come with a custom dropper designed to get a user into run a file through social engineering (eg, fooling marks into thinking it was a Flash player update needed to view salacious content).

The malware is designed to snatch sensitive data (such as browser and email passwords) from compromised machines, but this is unlikely to happen, especially for users running the latest version of Apple's operating system software.

Netweird is not from the App Store and isn't digitally signed by an Apple-endorsed developer, so it won't run on machines running the default security settings built into Mountain Lion, says Sophos. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Healthcare organizations face rising ransomware attacks – and are paying up
    Via their insurance companies, natch

    Healthcare organizations, already an attractive target for ransomware given the highly sensitive data they hold, saw such attacks almost double between 2020 and 2021, according to a survey released this week by Sophos.

    The outfit's team also found that while polled healthcare orgs are quite likely to pay ransoms, they rarely get all of their data returned if they do so. In addition, 78 percent of organizations are signing up for cyber insurance in hopes of reducing their financial risks, and 97 percent of the time the insurance company paid some or all of the ransomware-related costs.

    However, while insurance companies pay out in almost every case and are fueling an improvement in cyber defenses, healthcare organizations – as with other industries – are finding it increasingly difficult to get insured in the first place.

    Continue reading
  • Don't let ransomware crooks spend months in your network – like this govt agency did
    Miscreants Googled for post-intrusion tools before downloading them onto servers, PCs

    Lockbit ransomware operators spent nearly six months in a government agency's network, deleting logs and using Chrome to download hacking tools, before eventually deploying extortionware, according to Sophos threat researchers.

    About a month before the unnamed US regional government agency began investigating the intrusion, the cybercriminals deleted most of the log data to cover their tracks. 

    But they didn't delete every log nor their browser search history, which meant they left some crumbs behind.

    Continue reading
  • Sophos fixes critical hijack flaw in firewall offering
    Authentication bypass followed by remote-code execution at the network boundary

    Sophos has patched a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in its firewall gear that was disclosed via its bug-bounty program.

    The supplier wrote in a brief notice on Friday that an authentication bypass flaw can be potentially exploited over the network or internet by miscreants to execute malicious code on a victim's equipment, hijacking it effectively.

    The flaw is present in the User Portal and Webadmin user interfaces of Sophos Firewall. This product, using its Xstream architecture, is supposed to both protect the network from unauthorized access and accelerate a company's software-as-a-service, software-defined WAN, and cloud traffic. It offers a range of functions, including SSL/TLS decryption and monitoring, and deep packet inspection to detect ransomware communications and other signs of intrusions or intrusion attempts.

    Continue reading
  • Backup frustration brought this CTO to forefront of ransomware protection
    Constant versioning of file systems is the way to go, Nasuni cofounder says

    Interview As CTO of The New York Times two decades ago, Andres Rodriguez became frustrated with the time-consuming and unreliable process of backing up massive amounts of data that was only tested when it failed.

    That experience led him in 2008 to launch Nasuni, building what has become a cloud-native global file platform that does away with traditional backups and instead constantly creates new versions of files that are not shipped to a backup system but instead are kept on the cloud-based platform. In addition, everything is managed – both in the cloud and on-premises – via the platform.

    Enterprises save money by not having to build extensive backup environments and they can better protect their data, said Rodriguez, who also is now Nasuni's CTO. As an added bonus, the platform also gives organizations more tools to protect against the ongoing threat of ransomware.

    Continue reading
  • VMware Horizon platform pummeled by Log4j-fueled attacks
    Miscreants deployed cryptominers, backdoors since late December, Sophos says

    VMware's Horizon virtualization platform has become an ongoing target of attackers exploiting the high-profile Log4j flaw to install backdoors and cryptomining malware.

    In a report this week, cybersecurity firm Sophos wrote that VMware's virtual desktop and applications platform has been in the crosshairs since late December, with the largest wave of attacks beginning Jan. 19 and continuing well into March. Many of the attacks are designed to deploy cryptocurrency mining malware, Sophos researchers Gabor Szappanos and Sean Gallagher wrote.

    Other motives were less clear, though some may be used by ransomware groups or initial access brokers, who gain access into targeted systems and then sell that access to threat actors to launch ransomware and other malware attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Cryptominers aren't just a headache – they're a big neon sign that Bad Things are on your network
    So says Sophos in warning about Tor2Mine Monero malware

    Cryptominer malware removal is a routine piece of the cybersecurity landscape these days. Yet if criminals are hijacking your compute cycles to mine cryptocurrencies, chances are there's something worse lurking on your network too.

    So warned Sophos threat researcher Sean Gallagher, in a recent interview with The Register as the antivirus organisation launches a report into the Tor2Mine cryptominer.

    Tor2Mine is unremarkable, other than for its persistence features. If it gets onto your network it starts mining the Monero cryptocurrency, favoured by e-crims because (unlike Bitcoin) wallets aren't publicly visible, meaning transactions can't be easily traced by investigators.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022