Trend Micro researchers recently came across a malware instance that disguised itself as a legitimate Mac-based trading app known as Stockfolio. In other words, a new Mac malware was just discovered, or more precisely – researchers came across two variants of the same malware family.
The first variant contains a pair of shell scripts and connects to a remote site to decrypt the encrypted codes. The other instance appears to be simpler in its routine but is in fact persistent in nature. The first sample Trend Micro detects as Trojan.MacOS.GMERA.A, and the second one – Trojan.MacOS.GMERA.B.
The purpose of the malware is to steal the user’s data and to upload it to a website controlled by the hackers.
|Short Description||The malware is masquerading itself as the legitimate Stockfolio app.|
|Symptoms||The presence of a malicious zip file.|
|Distribution Method||Through a website|
See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware
|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss Trojan.MacOS.GMERA.|
This variant was discovered during a check of suspicious shell scripts. The first sample that was analyzed was a zip archive file which contained an app bundle and a hidden encrypted file. The tricky part is that the fake app is masqueraded as the legitimate Stockfolio app but the researchers were able to identify its malicious components.
The app bundle turned out to be malicious, even though it tried to look like the legitimate Stockfolio 1.4.13 version signed with the malware author’s digital certificate. A comparison between this app and the legitimate app found on the website of Stockfolio revealed a number of differences.
It should be noted that when the potential victim executes the app, a trading app interface will indeed appear. However, the malicious process will also be started in the background of the Mac machine.
Using the digital certificate of the first sample, the researchers successfully discovered a second variant, detected as Trojan.MacOS.GMERA.B. The malicious sample was uploaded to VirusTotal in June 2019. In similarity to the first variant, this one also contains an embedded copy of the Stockfolio app version 1.4.13 signed with the same digital certificate. The app is also launched in an identical way and is disguising its malicious process.
However, one of the main differences in the second variant, aside from the simplified routine, is the presence of a persistence mechanism possible through the creation of a property list (plist)
file: ~/Library/LaunchAgents/.com.apple.upd.plist, the researchers discovered.
Trend Micro reached out to Apple before they published their findings. Apple said that the code signing certificate of this fake app’s developers was revoked in July.
If you suspect that you have been compromised by this Trojan, you can use the removal insructions below the article. However, note that the Trojan may be detected under a different name.
Before starting to follow the steps below, be advised that you should first do the following preparations:
- Backup your files in case the worst happens.
- Make sure to have a device with these instructions on standy.
- Arm yourself with patience.
Step 1: Uninstall Trojan.MacOS.GMERA and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Trojan.MacOS.GMERA via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Remove Trojan.MacOS.GMERA – related extensions from Safari / Chrome / Firefox
Step 3: Scan for and remove Trojan.MacOS.GMERA files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as Trojan.MacOS.GMERA, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
What is Trojan.MacOS.GMERA on your Mac?
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your Mac to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your MacOS.
Can my Mac get a virus?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get viruses. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a virus:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What are the symptoms of Trojan.MacOS.GMERA on your Mac?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also most Mac threats in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your Mac may become slow and has poor performance in general.
Symtpom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Mac's Activity Monitor.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts reccomend that you check your Mac for viruses.
What types of Mac threats are there?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently infect your Mac can be the following types:
- Rogue Antivirus programs.
- Adware and hijackers.
- Trojan horses and other spyware.
- Ransomware and screen-lockers.
- Cryptocurrency miner malware.
What to do if I have a Mac virus, like Trojan.MacOS.GMERA?
Do not panic! You can easily get rid of most Mac threats by firstly isolating them and then removing them. One reccomended way to do that is by using a reputable malware removal software that can take care of the removal automatically for you. There are many Mac anti-malware apps out there that you can choose from. SpyHunter for Mac is one of the reccomended Mac anti-malware apps, that can scan for free and detect any viruses, tracking cookies and unwanted adware apps plus take care of them quickly. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to secure my passwords and other data from Trojan.MacOS.GMERA?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2: Change all of your passwords, starting from your e-mail passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activiites with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7: (Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8: Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these reccomendations, your network and Apple devices will become significantly more safe against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
More tips you can find on our website, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.