Harnessing Weapons of Mac Destruction.
Whenever a new Mac malware specimen is uncovered, it provides a unique insight into the offensive Mac capabilities of hackers or nation-state adversaries. Better yet, such discoveries provide fully-functional capabilities that may be weaponized for our own surreptitious purposes! Life is short, why write your own?
We’ll begin this talk by discussing the methodology of subverting existing malware for “personal use”, highlighting both the challenges and benefits of such an approach.
Next, we’ll walk-thru the weaponization of various Mac malware specimens including: an interactive backdoor, a file-exfiltration implant, ransomware and a crypto-miner. Customizations include various configuration and runtime binary modifications that will coerce such malware to accept tasking from our own C&C servers, and/or automatically perform actions on our behalf.
Of course, in their pristine state, such samples are currently blocked by macOS and/or detected by AV products. As such we’ll also walk-thru subtle modifications that will ensure our modified specimens remains undetected by traditional detection approaches.
In conclusion, we’ll highlight novel heuristic methods that can generically detect such threats to ensure Mac users remain protected even from such weaponized threats.
Patrick Wardle is the Chief Research Officer at Digita Security and founder of Objective-See. Having worked at NASA and the NSA, as well as presented at countless security conferences, he is intimately familiar with aliens, spies, and talking nerdy. Patrick is passionate about all things related to macOS security and thus spends his days finding Apple 0days, analyzing macOS malware and writing free open-source security tools to protect Mac users.