While Apple malware isn’t unheard of, it is less often found in the wild. The illusion of perfect security entertained by many Apple users gets easily shattered when a new bug appears on the horizon. Eleanor is the latest of these OS-specific malware applications; it opens a backdoor into the computer it infects, allowing total control of the system through a hidden Tor service, a PasteBin client and a PHP Web Service. These three elements allow the attacker to gain access to the entire system and even use it without alerting the user to his presence.
How Does Eleanor Propagate?
Eleanor, apparently so-named by its creators, installs itself on its victims’ computers through an otherwise inoffensive application, EasyDoc Converter. This application, available through MacUpdate, converts Apple file formats to Microsoft Word formats. However, at the same time, it installs a backdoor for cybercriminals to access the computer.
What About Apple App Certification?
Apple users know that the company certifies every application available on its App Store. Apple is known to reject apps that don’t meet its high standards, and definitely wouldn’t allow such a disruptive piece of malware through its fingers.
EasyDoc Converter, however, is not certified with Apple. Mac OS X will show this to any user who attempts to install it, requiring the user to bypass this measure of protection by enabling the installation of unsigned third-party applications. Not every unsigned app is malicious, but every malicious app is unsigned.
As a result, while you may breeze through the warning pop-ups that occur when downloading and installing an application off the internet, you may want to double check those and make sure you’re only installing signed apps downloaded from the Apple App Store.
Enable GateKeeper On Your Mac
Another measure of protection that you should verify on your mac is called Gatekeeper. To enable this application, go to System Preferences and click on the Security & Privacy pane. From there, you should see whether Gatekeeper is enabled or disabled. Earlier versions of Mac OS X do not use Gatekeeper, but have similar settings available on the same page.
However, one of the best ways to protect your computer from malware is by keeping it updated. If you are not using the latest Mac OS X, you should download it and install it on your system. Also, make sure all of your applications are up to date as well. You may not have caught Eleanor, but you could easily catch the next one that comes around.
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