A new version of Xagent, malware reportedly created by Russian hacking group APT28, has been discovered, and this version targets Mac users.
As outlined in a blog post by antivirus company Bitdefender (via Ars Technica), Xagent has previously been used to infiltrate Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux devices, but now Macs are vulnerable to attack as well. This is the first version of Xagent that's believed to be able to infiltrate Macs.
The Mac version of Xagent is described as a backdoor that can be customized to do things like log passwords, detect system configurations, execute files, take screenshots of the display, and access iOS backups stored on the Mac.
The sample we are discussing today has been linked to the Mac OSX version of Xagent component from Sofacy/APT28/Sednit APT. This modular backdoor with advanced cyber-espionage capabilities is most likely planted on the system via the Komplex downloader.
Once successfully installed, the backdoor checks if a debugger is attached to the process. If it detects one, it terminates itself to prevent execution. Otherwise, it waits for an Internet connection before initiating communication with the C&C servers.
After the communication has been established, the payload starts the modules. Our preliminary analysis shows most of the C&C URLs impersonate Apple domains.
APT28 is the cyberespionage group that has been accused of hacking into the U.S. Democratic National Committee last year and interfering with the 2016 presidential election.
Bitdefender isn't entirely sure how the Mac version of Xagent is being distributed to users, but it could be spread via a macOS malware downloader called Komplex, which exploits a vulnerability in the virus-like MacKeeper software. Research on the malware is ongoing.
Mac users concerned about Xagent should avoid downloading anything that doesn't come from the Mac App Store or a well-known developer.
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