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.
Steps to Prepare Before Removal:
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.
What is Trojan.MacOS.GMERA on your Mac?
The Trojan.MacOS.GMERA threat is probably a potentially unwanted app. There is also a chance it could be related to Mac malware.
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 Macs Get Viruses?
Yes. As much as any other device, Apple computers do get malware. Apple devices may not be a frequent target by malware authors, but rest assured that the following Apple devices can become infected with a threat:
- Mac Mini
- Macbook Air
- Macbook Pro
What Are The Symptoms of Trojan.MacOS.GMERA On 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 recommended 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. This saves time for manual removal that you would otherwise have to do.
How to Secure My 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 MacOS Virus section, where you can also ask any questions and comment about your Mac problems.
About the Trojan.MacOS.GMERA Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this Trojan.MacOS.GMERA how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific macOS issue.
How did we conduct the research on Trojan.MacOS.GMERA?
Please note that our research is based on an independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware definitions, including the various types of Mac threats, especially adware and potentially unwanted apps (PUAs).
Furthermore, the research behind the Trojan.MacOS.GMERA threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand the threat posed by Mac malware, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.