June 29, 2017

Mac Spyware Hijacks Clipboard

The recent increase in Mac popularity has made it more of a target. The most recent attack comes in the form of spyware and operates by hijacking users’ clipboards to spread links to malicious sites.

Mac Spyware Hijacks Clipboard
Mac Spyware Hijacks Clipboard

Reported by Safari and Firefox users running both OS X and Windows, the malware is transmitted via surfing reportedly legitimate sites. MSNBC.com, for example, is listed among them.

Upon visiting a malicious link is pasted to the users’ clipboard. The link cannot be removed from the clipboard until the system reboots. The malware blocks attempts to copy and past anywhere else. One theory suggests the designers of the attack are hoping to rook users into pasting the links into an email.

But the main culprit is touted to be windowsxp-privacy.net ?id=198760083, and though we wouldn’t recommend visiting it unless you’re a security researcher, McAfee’s SiteAdvisor reports they have tested the site and haven’t found “any significant problems.”

Nonetheless, enough people have reported the clipboard hijack problem that it appears to be a real threat. “This is a good reminder that users of operating systems other than Windows are not immune to malware or social engineering,” writes Maxim Weinstein on the StopBadware.org blog.

A few days earlier Weinstein was critical of Apple’s lack of response to them regarding “badware,” suggesting the company be more forthcoming about what’s going on with them.

“Here at StopBadware.org,” he writes, “we’ve found Apple to be…uncommunicative. A couple months ago, when we notified them that we were preparing a badware alert about Apple Software Update, they quietly changed the product at the 11th hour but never contacted us about it. More recently, we’ve tried to contact several senior executives there to initiate an informal, low-pressure conversation about their disclosure practices, but our invitation has gone unanswered.”

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