Apple’s M1-based Macs at risk of new malware

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Recently, researchers have discovered one of the first malware samples that targets Mac devices running with Apple’s M1 chips. The discovery indicates that bad actors have begun adapting malicious software to target the company’s latest generation of Macs powered by its own processors.

Malware for Apple devices is much less in number as compared to the malicious codes made for Windows machines, as the Microsoft  operating systems are used on a larger number of machines compared to Apple systems. However, malware for Macs is increasingly becoming more popular as more people continue to get into the Apple Ecosystem.

Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle mentioned that the malware disguises itself as a Safari adware extension. The Safari adware extension called GoSearch22 that was originally written to run on Intel x86 chips but has since been ported to run on ARM-based M1 chips. GoSearch22 adware disguises itself as a legitimate Safari browser extension and collects browsing data. It serves a large number of ads such as banners and popups, including some that link to dubious websites to distribute additional malware. These pop-ups could send the user to other malicious sites that could then infect machines further.

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