Mysterious Malware Infects 30,000 Apple Computers (Don’t Panic!)

A new strain of malware is infecting Apple computers, and it can’t be removed.

“Silver Sparrow” has been found on both Intel processor-based Macs as well as the newer models with the company’s proprietary M1 chips. 30,000 computers in 153 countries have it so far, with most of them in Europe and the US.

The malware has spread rapidly, seems to use a few tricks previously unseen in other macOS-based malware, and communicates with a remote server once an hour to look for new instructions. Researchers have not yet been able to determine what this malware does.

Now for the good news:

  • We don’t know what Silver Sparrow does. Yes, that news cuts both ways.
  • It could be a doomsday countdown clock to cyber-Armageddon, but it could also be an elegant and ultimately harmless proof-of-concept that was detected before it was able to do any real damage. We simply don’t know enough about it as of yet.
  • That’s not to dismiss Silver Sparrow as a concern; it’s very much on the radar of the cybersecurity community.
  • There are a minimum of 100,000,000 Apple computers in use. 30,000 is a tiny fraction.
  • Yes, it could spread, and most likely will. This is like everything else, and as such is a metaphor for daily cyber awareness: extinction-level events are always just one click away.
  • Bottom line: There are known threats targeting your computer, mobile device, tablet, home and office networks, game consoles, routers, IoT devices and other connected devices that can and should always be top of mind as a cause for concern.

Until malware experts are able to fully grasp the potential threat posed by Silver Sparrow, it should not be elevated above “threat of the day” status.

Originally published at https://adamlevin.com on February 22, 2021.