Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Apple Notarizes Six New Variants of ‘MacOffers’ Adware

Apple has inadvertently given the thumbs up to six new malware variants, according to researchers at Mac security solutions provider Intego.

Apple has inadvertently given the thumbs up to six new malware variants, according to researchers at Mac security solutions provider Intego.

Notarization is an approval process through which macOS software is scanned before being delivered to users, to identify possible malicious code before it can do any harm. The process was introduced in macOS 10.15 (Catalina) and results in code that lacks this stamp of trust being automatically blocked.

Application developers have the possibility to submit their software to Apple for scanning purposes and have it automatically notarized if deemed malware-free. Users benefit from this added protection on macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, and the upcoming macOS Big Sur.

In September, security researchers revealed that malware pertaining to the OSX.Shlayer family was able to trick Apple’s security mechanisms into giving it the necessary approval. Some OSX/Bundlore samples also received notarization.

Now, Intego says that Apple also notarized six variants of the OSX/MacOffers (aka MaxOfferDeal) adware. In early October, the identified disk image (.dmg) files and the first-stage Trojan application had no detection in VirusTotal, although a second-stage malicious payload did trigger 4 of the 60 detection engines in the online file analysis platform.

The malware employs steganography to hide payloads within JPEG image files, and Intego believes this might have helped it bypass Apple’s notarization process.

Cracked software appears to have been used for the distribution of this notarized malware.

By including notarized malware into software that was modified to remove restrictions such as registration requirements, cybercriminals ensure that users won’t be alerted when the malicious code reaches their systems. Furthermore, notarized applications can be opened with a simple double-click.

“Therefore, there’s a significantly higher chance that victims will install Trojan horse malware that has sneaked through Apple’s notarization process undetected,” Intego points out.

Related: macOS Adware Delivers Notarized Payloads

Related: Researcher Details Sophisticated macOS Attack via Office Document Macros

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content


Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.


The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.


A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...


The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.


Video games developer Riot Games says source code was stolen from its development environment in a ransomware attack


CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.


Chinese threat actor DragonSpark has been using the SparkRAT open source backdoor in attacks targeting East Asian organizations.