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Malware on macOS allowed hackers to record screen and take photos, macOS Big Sur 11.4 update fixes the issue

Apple has fixed a security vulnerability through the latest update of its macOS that earlier allowed hackers to record a victim's screen or take photos using Mac's camera.

twitter-logoSarthak Dogra | May 25, 2021 | Updated 20:31 IST

Highlights

  • The vulnerability was exploited by using the XCSSET malware that first discovered last year.
  • It let the hackers bypass the required user permissions for tracking activities.
  • Apple has patched the risk in the latest macOS Big Sur 11.4 update.

Apple MacBooks have reportedly been the victim of yet another malware attack. Exploiting a security vulnerability, the malware is able to work around the macOS privacy settings to take screenshots, record audio or even take images through the MacBook's camera.

The good thing is that Apple has already addressed the security weakness in its latest version of macOS Big Sur 11.4. Released on Monday, the version effectively patches the vulnerability and asks for users permission for running the previously targeted app process.

The malicious practice was discovered recently by cybersecurity company Jamf while researching the XCSSET malware. First found last year, the malware could be used to trick the Transparency Consent and Control settings on macOS.

The TCC is the feature that asks for user permission every time an activity related to the user's privacy is performed by an app. As highlighted in a Forbes report, these activities include taking snapshots, photos, recording keystrokes or possibly videos.

The threat perpetrators involved with the development of the malware found a way to hijack other apps' permissions. These apps were ones that had already been granted all the necessary approvals for such functions by the user.

Citing an example, Jamf explains that the malware could create an app within the Zoom video calling app and secretly record the screen. Since it is likely that the user has already granted the screen recording permissions to Zoom, the malware would skip the need for user permission and start operating.

Jamf notes that the hackers have only been found to take screenshots using the security flaw so far. However, the same vulnerability could be exploited for data theft and spying activities, including audio recordings or images through the camera.

The malware spread is reported to be very limited as of now. However, it brings to light the recent comment by Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, on the growing malware problem on Mac.

MacBook users are advised to upgrade to the latest update of macOS Big Sur 11.4.

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