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|
|Detection Tool|| 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.