The Unseen Threat: Cuckoo Spyware Targets macOS, here is what we know. A Quick Look

PoC Vulnerabilities

The Unseen Threat: Cuckoo Spyware Targets macOS, here is what we know. A Quick Look

In the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity, a new player has entered the arena. This new threat, known as ‘Cuckoo’, is a persistent spyware specifically targeting macOS systems. What makes Cuckoo unique is its ability to target both Intel and Arm-based Macs.


A Closer Look at Cuckoo

Cuckoo is not your typical malware. It’s a blend of infostealer malware and spyware. This means it not only steals information but also sets up persistence on the infected hosts. The researchers at Kandji, a device management company, were the first to discover this malicious Mach-O binary.

The Modus Operandi of Cuckoo Spyware

The spyware disguises itself as a program called “DumpMedia Spotify Music Converter”. This program is distributed from a site that offers apps to convert music from streaming services into MP3 files. While the current distribution method involves music piracy sites, the threat actors could easily switch tactics and distribute the malware through other fake apps.

The Impact

Once the user downloads and runs the app, the malware springs into action. It displays a fake password prompt, tricking users into entering their system password. If successful, the malware can escalate its privileges on the infected machine.

Cuckoo then starts collecting data. It takes note of the apps installed on the compromised Mac, takes screenshots, and harvests data from iCloud Keychain, Apple Notes, web browsers, and apps like Discord, FileZilla, Steam, and Telegram.

The Origin of Cuckoo Spyware

While the exact origin of Cuckoo is still under investigation, there are some clues. The malware fails to run if the infected device is located in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine. This could suggest a possible affiliation with Russia. However, the malware also establishes persistence via LaunchAgent, a method seen in malware linked to a Chinese threat actor.

Staying Safe

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. To protect your Mac from Cuckoo and other similar threats, it’s crucial to only download apps from trusted sources. Be wary of any app that asks for your system password. Regularly update your system and security software to ensure you have the latest protections in place.

In conclusion, the discovery of Cuckoo serves as a reminder of the constant threats in the digital world. As technology advances, so do the methods employed by cybercriminals. Staying informed and vigilant is our best defense.

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