‘Tarmac’ malware hits Mac computers through malvertising

By Z6 Mag

12 December 2019

Mac computers are thought to be one of the most secure personal computers in the market. However, a new malware has proved contrary to the claim after researchers have found a malvertising strain that infects Mac devices – it’s called Tarmac. 

Security researchers have said that the Tarmac malware (OSX/Tarmac) is distributed to different Mac users through a sophisticated malvertising or malicious advertising campaign. The malicious ads run rogue codes in the infected device that redirects the user to a webpage showing popups peddling software updates. 

The malicious web page will automatically download software updates disguised for Adobe Flash Player. When users are tricked into downloading the said Adobe Flash Player update and installing it in their computer will introduce two malware to their system: the OSX/Shlayer malware, which was spotted in the wild in January 2019, and through it, the Tarmac malware will then be installed afterward. 

It is interesting to note that while MacOS screens for potential malware before allowing users to install them in their devices, the Tarmac’s vehicle, disguising as an Adobe Flash Player update, actually has an Apple developer certificate. This made it easier for the malware to persist amidst the security mechanism in Apple computers.

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