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Malware Alert: A Malware That Spies On Mac Users

Researchers recently discovered a strain of malware designed to spy on Mac users.

The malware, "FruitFly", has been quietly running in the background of infected Macs, possibly for years. FruitFly "spies on users through the computer's camera, captures images of what's displayed on the screen and logs key strokes."

Researchers who discovered FruitFly in 2017 believe it may have been around since before 2014. They do not know who created it, how it infects computers, or if the victims are random or selected. Researchers also discovered another version of the malware, called FruitFly 2. They have already found this version on 400 computers, and believe many more Macs are infected.

Most malware targeting Macs has been adware, which makes FruitFly's spyware unique. The chief security researcher, who uncovered FruitFly, thinks the purpose of the malware is not to steal personal data for money, but rather to spy on individuals. Selena Larson "Mac malware caught silently spying on computer users," money.cnn.com (Jul. 24, 2017).


Commentary

FruitFly is a reminder that all devices—PCs and Macs—are susceptible to malware. Even though malware targeting systems that run iOS is still less widespread than the malware targeting Windows, the amount of malware targeting Mac users has continued to grow over the years.

No matter your operating system or hardware, it is important to protect all computers and mobile devices with anti-virus and anti-malware software. Mac users must also follow cybersecurity best practices, such as only using secure internet connections and never opening unknown email attachments.

Cover your computer’s camera when not in use. Post-it notes work nicely, if you do not have a more sophisticated solution.

No matter what type of computer you have, stay vigilant for signs of a malware infection. Indications that your computer could be infected with malware include:

  • Slowing down or crashing more than normal
  • Displaying frequent error messages
  • Failing to shut down or restart
  • Displaying numerous pop-up messages
  • Opening web pages you did not type in or sending emails you did not write
  • New toolbars or icons appearing unexpectedly
  • Your internet home page changing suddenly and repeatedly
  • Your laptop battery draining more quickly than normal
  • Pop-up windows claiming to scan your computer for viruses and finding an unrealistically large number
  • The screen turning black and start menu and desktop icons disappearing
  • Black screens opening and closing when you start up your computer
  • Emails being returned with virus warnings
  • Icons moving when you try to click on them
  • Your computer starts to “chat” with you.

If you notice any of the above signs, immediately contact an IT professional so that your computer can be purged of the malware.  

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