Malware designed specifically for Apple’s new M1 chipset discovered by researchers

New chipsets are always under the radar of hackers and it seems the Apple M1 chipset is the new target for these bad actors.

According to a report published by Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle (via MacRumours), a new malware has been discovered designed specifically for the Apple M1 chip which means that malware creators are now adapting to the M1 ecosystem and developing malicious software for the same.

As per the report, the new malware has been tailored to run natively on the M1 chipset and the first malware was discovered in the form of an adware extension for the Safari browser. The malware was originally made to run on the Intel x86 based chipset which was used in the earlier generation of the MacBook series and Macs.

A malware to targets M1 chipset

The malware has been dubbed “GoSearch22” and comes from the family of the “Pirrit” Mac adware. Pirrit is one of the oldest and the most active Mac adware that still exists on the Apple platform and has been constantly updating itself to avoid detection.

The report adds that the malware for first spotted in December last year. The GoSearch22 malware appears to users as a legitimate Safari extension which is responsible for tracking and harvesting the data of users. It also serves them with a large number of ad-like banners and pop-ups.

Many of these pop-ups are linked with other malicious websites that spread more malware throughout the Apple ecosystem. Wardle says that since the adware is still in its nascent stage, antivirus developed for the x86 version of the chipset are not able to select the GoSearch22 malware.

Apple updates its platform security guide

It is possible that many malware developers are now working towards making more malware specifically for Apple’s new chipset which is why Apple has updated its Platform Security Guide which highlights key changes that have been made to its products including the M1 chipset.

The new security guide talks about the authorisation requirements for enabling kernel extensions on Apple computers running on the M1 chip.

In addition to the above, Apple has also updated its silicon on iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices — with the T2 chip and dedicated AES hardware engine to establish better line-speed encryption.

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