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Cybercriminals try to sell Mac malware variants for $50,000 each

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March 7, 2017

It's reported today that cybercriminals are attempting to sell a supposedly undetectable Mac malware variant on the dark web for 40 Bitcoins, or about US $50,000 each.

The so-called 'Proton Malware' supposedly features some capabilities that can allegedly take full control of Mac OS devices by evading antivirus detection, the criminals claim.

Hackers even offered to add an Apple-approved developer signature to the attacker's custom RAT software in order to bypass Apple's Gatekeeper protection on targeted Macs, according to Mac security firm Intego.

Whatever that gang is up to, they appear to be adamant according to some internet security experts we spoke to.

Offers touting the same Mac worm first appeared on a Russian cybercrime message board in February and were first reported by Israeli threat intelligence firm SixGill.

Additionally, security experts are also skeptical as to whether the nasty malware will find many buyers, since $50k appears a rather large sum of cash to pay for such an exploit.

Chris Doman, a security researcher at the 'dashboard' firm AlienVault commented-- "At 40 Bitcoins for unlimited installs, and far more for access to the source code, this is still an expensive proposal, no matter how you look at it, especially when you consider that RATs for macOS are now available for free."

"It's also likely that the pricing is intended to limit the distribution and so detection by security vendors," he asserted.

"While the 'Proton Malware' is marketed on dark web forums, it also has promotional YouTube videos and a (now down) public website. It may have attracted more attention than the malware author was hoping," he added.

Kyle Wilhoit, a senior security researcher at DomainTools, added that would-be buyers would likely be able to negotiate somewhat over the asking price.

"Typically, just like haggling over the price for a car, adversaries will negotiate the price lower than what's being asked, or the malware authors themselves will lower the price anyway," he asserted.

Source: Intego Internet Security LLC.

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