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First Malware designed for Apple M1 chip has been discovered

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The first malware that has been specifically designed for the new M1 chip from Apple has just been discovered. This indicates that malware creators are now beginning to adapt their malicious software for the company’s new generator of ARM based Macs.

Apple M1 chip features

According to a report published by Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle (Via MacRumors), the new malware has been tailored and recompiled to run natively on the M1 chip. Wardle discovered that the first known native M1 malware in the form of a Safari adware extension. This was originally made to run on the Intel

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x86 based chips from the Cupertino based giant. The malicious extension is dubbed “GoSearch22” and is a known member of the “Pirrit” Mac adware family.

This extension was also first spotted at the end of December last year. For those unaware, Pirrit is one of the oldest and most active Mac adware families that have been found on the platform, which has constantly been adapting to avoid detection. So, it was only a matter of time before the malware to make it to the new Macs. The GoSearch22 adware appears as a legitimate Safari browser extension, which tracks and harvests users’ data and serves a large number of ads like banners and popups.

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Apple

Some of these popups are linked to other malicious websites that spread more malware. As per Wardle, the adware was signed with an Apple Developer ID in November 2020, but that has since been revoked. He further added that as malware for the M1 is still at its early stages, antivirus softwares are not detecting it as easily as the ones on the x86 versions. In other words, this is just the beginning and we can expect more such malwares to surface soon.

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