Last week, Malwarebytes posted an article highlighting new malware discovered by John Lambert (Microsoft), Patrick Wardle (Objective-See and Digita Security) and Adam Thomas (Malwarebytes), and sure enough, persistence using launchd is still a common thing.
There’s a dangerous myth among some Mac users that, unlike Windows, the platform is impervious to malware. Since nothing is bulletproof, it would be dangerous to assume Mac fleet security, so let’s recognize why Macs have historically been low risk and why that looks to be changing.
Osquery offers introspection capabilities for macOS that were previously difficult to achieve. Osquery uses a universal agent to collect and return a nearly unlimited amount of endpoint data that can then be queried like a database using SQL. For macOS system administrators, this opens up a world of quickly accessible system monitoring capabilities that we'll explore here today.
In this post and video (click here to skip ahead to the video), we'll review some of the basic tasks for macOS system monitoring with osquery (osquery can be used for Linux and Windows as well, but because macOS was previously so underserved, I'm focusing there. Most commands we'll review will be the same or similar for other systems).
What we'll cover:
The first week of February 2018 has seen another piece of macOS malware — CreativeUpdater malware. This time a cryptominer masquerading as several different software packages on the MacUpdate.com website. Again, even a few days later, a lot of endpoint solutions are not necessarily picking this up, looking at VirusTotal.
Seeing on Twitter that Patrick Wardle (a must follow for macOS security!) may have found his first piece of macOS malware for 2018, I eagerly flipped to his blog. Given that this is “new” malware on macOS, there is likely going to be a window between discovery and protection via A/V software.
Update: Following this article's original publication, Apple released a somewhat confusing set of security updates, which invalidates some of the original content I had shared. I have posted a follow-up here and updated the version number in the determination query in this article.
Tuesday’s event of a vulnerability in macOS High Sierra (tagged #iamroot by some) was a great chance to explore the utility of using osquery in response to a previously unknown security threat. [See this post for other macos malware identification tips]
There have been several instances where malware has been introduced to OS X machines in the past few months via “supply chain attacks”. This is where a vendor is tricked into distributing, or is compromised in a way, that their legitimate software is either replaced by or includes malware in the distribution bundle.