Apple’s Macs Fall Prey to New Crypto Mining Attack

Apple’s Macs Fall Prey to New Crypto Mining Attack

According to American Internet Security company Malwarebytes Inc., a recently discovered malicious XMRig-based crypto mining program is targeting Apple’s Mac computers by leeching their computing resources to mine Monero cryptocurrency. The good news is it is very easy to boot the malware out from the infected system.

Also see: Poloniex Catching Heat in Crypto Space for Unannounced KYC Flex

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Macs Rigged for Monero Mining

The California-based Malwarebytes discussed the new attack in a blog post. Per the researchers, the attackers were exploiting a Mac process named “mshelper” to illicitly mine Monero cryptocurrency.

At first, the malware was identified in a thread on Apple’s discussion forum where “mshelper” was pinned as gulping computers’ processing power. However, Malwarebytes researchers further indicated that several other questionable processes along with “mshelper” were leeching Macs’ computing power to mine the privacy-focused coin Monero.


According to Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes Director of Mac and Mobile, the fusion of these processes depleted the majority of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) power in the Mac systems. However, Reed asserted:

“Affected users saw their fans whirring out of control and a process named ‘mshelper’ gobbling up CPU time like Cookie Monster. Fortunately, this malware is not very sophisticated and is easy to remove,”

The three primary components of the malware were identified as the Dropper, the Launcher, and the Miner. To enter into computer systems, the mining malware is bundled with phony Adobe Flash Player installers or free downloads from anonymous venues on the web. The launcher is the component that launches and keeps the illicit malware process running. Meanwhile, the miner component stems from XMRig, a Monero miner.

Boot Out Malware With Ease

According to Malwarebytes researchers, the malicious software’s structure suggested that the malware developer was not accustomed to Macs. Moreover, researchers claim it to be effortless to expel the malicious Monero miner from the computer system.

To that end, Reed stated on the company blog:

“Mac cryptomining malware has been on the rise recently, just as in the Windows world. This malware follows other cryptominers for macOS, such as Pwnet, CpuMeaner, and CreativeUpdate. I’d rather be infected with a cryptominer than some other kind of malware, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.”

Apparently, it is the first XMRig CPU mining malware for Mac, which indicates that Mac is not immune to cryptojacking approaches. Last year, an XMRig-based crypto miner dubbed “Wise” surfaced on the web primarily targeting Windows operating systems.

Once installed, the miner would mine digital currencies without users consent. The dynamic rise in the value of cryptocurrencies has led many delinquents to pivot to lucrative cryptojacking activities, which the world’s biggest software company Microsoft Corporation regards as an “increasing threat.”

Is there a way to remain immune from cryptojackng attacks? Share your views in the comments section.

Images via CNET, The Hacker News

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