Apple M1 Macs Are Not Immune To Malware. Patrick Wardle is a legend in the Apple ecosystem and one of the best independent security researchers. Not long ago, he sang Apple’s praises for the security of their M1 Macs processor.
More recently, however, Patrick Wardle made a rather disturbing discovery, finding malware in the wild that explicitly targets the new chip.
Patrick Wardle said:
“Today, we confirmed that malicious adversaries are indeed crafting multi-architecture applications so that their code will natively run on Apple M1 Mac systems. The malicious and evil GoSearch22 application may be the first example of such natively M1 compatible code.
The creation of such applications is notable for two main reasons. First (and unsurprisingly), this illustrates that malicious code continues to evolve directly to both hardware and software changes coming out of Cupertino.
There is a myriad of [sic] benefits to natively distributing native arm64 binaries, so why would malware authors resist? Secondly, and more worrisomely, (static) analysis tools or antivirus engines may struggle [to detect this].”
Unfortunately, several antivirus solutions that can detect this malware on Intel machines cannot spot the Apple Silicon M1 Macs variant. If there’s a silver lining, though, it lies in the fact that Apple moved quickly and revoked the developer’s certificate. The downside is that Patrick Wardle was unable to determine whether the binary was notarized or not. Either way, the bottom line is that the strain infected macOS users.
All that to say that if you own an Apple M1 Macs, you will benefit from the processor’s improved security. It is not, however, a free pass. Hackers have already found a way to design malware to circumvent the enhanced security, and where there’s one, you can bet there will be more to follow, so don’t let your guard down and always stay extremely diligent.