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Mac Developers and Malware: What You Need to Know

DZone 's Guide to

Mac Developers and Malware: What You Need to Know

No one is safe. Mac developers admit that even their once-secure devices are susceptible to attacks. Click here to learn what you can do to secure your Apple devices.

· Security Zone ·
Free Resource

In 2015, malware from China infected apps on the Apple Marketplace. It was one of the first successful major attacks on the App Store.

The attack became known as XcodeGhost. Attackers used a counterfeit version of Xcode, an official tool designed by Apple for creating apps. The counterfeit version of Xcode containing malware was loaded to a server in China.

Many developers downloaded Xcode from the Chinese server to save the time required to download it from the official Apple site. As the developers used the counterfeit tool, malware infected the apps.

As many as 4,000 apps in the marketplace were infected by the malware.

The App Store and Malware Threats

There are strict protocols for developing applications that can be sold in the App Store, helping to protect users from malware threats. Developers are screened before Apple will consider selling an app. Even after the screening, Apple will validate every app in the Mac App Store. The company has been known to delay an app’s launch to finish investigating the software.

The stringent security Apple uses for every app is a selling point for their products. Customers feel safe downloading an app from Apple. For years, users and developers alike have assumed Apple and Apple systems were impenetrable to attacks.

Times are changing. Even Apple isn’t immune to security threats and the coming malware explosion. Criminals have gotten more clever, deploying strategies, like XcodeGhost, to circumvent standard security measures.

Mac Developers and Malware

Four distinct threats to Mac computers have already been identified in 2018. As cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes explains, “We have already seen four new Mac threats appear. The first of these, OSX.MaMi, was discovered on our forums by someone who had had his DNS settings changed and was unable to change them back. The malware that was discovered on his system acted to change these settings and ensure that they remained changed. Additionally, it installed a new trusted root certificate in the keychain.”

Many users, including Mac developers, mistakenly believe iOS and Apple are immune to malware threats, like spyware, ransomware, adware, and worse. This belief has left many users vulnerable to attack.

Mac users are notorious for not loading the latest updates and patches for software. Some visit dangerous sites, mistakenly believing Mac will save them from harm. Criminals know this and are targeting macOS now more than ever. Mac developers need to take steps to secure their apps.

If we can all learn one thing from XcodeGhost, it’s that developers can play a critical role in protecting the Apple ecosystem from malware and security threats.

Steps to Protect Yourself and Your Users

Keep Your OS and Software Updated

Make sure your software is up-to-date. Check for updates and patches regularly. Take time to load them, even when you’re on a deadline.

Work Only in the Official Apple Ecosystem

Don’t take shortcuts when working in the Apple ecosystem. Download tools and code only from official sites. Be suspicious of apps that macOS warns you are from unidentified developers.

Use Additional Malware Protection

Stay ahead of the threats to your app and software. Consider using additional malware protection on your machines. Don’t assume your Mac and Apple is the only protection you need.

Mac developers need to recognize a malware explosion is coming, and Apple is in their crosshairs. A few common-sense steps will protect you and your customers from malware threats.

Topics:
cybersecurity ,macos ,developer ,security ,malware ,apple ,mac

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