Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Malware & Threats

macOS RAT Uses 0-Day for Root Access

A new remote access tool (RAT) targeting macOS and believed to be using an unpatched 0-day vulnerability to gain root access on target machines, is currently being advertised on underground markets.

A new remote access tool (RAT) targeting macOS and believed to be using an unpatched 0-day vulnerability to gain root access on target machines, is currently being advertised on underground markets.

Dubbed Proton, the RAT was found on a closed Russian cybercrime message board, being offered by its author “in one of the leading underground cybercrime markets,” Sixgill researchers report. The Trojan is currently offered at 2 Bitcoins (around $2,500) for single installations, but an unlimited installations option is also available, at 40 Bitcoin.

According to the author, the tool was written in native Objective C and is fully undetectable by existing anti-virus programs for macOS. Objective C, the security researchers say, offers the great advantage that the malware doesn’t require dependencies.

Advertised as “a professional FUD surveillance and control solution” and packing root-access privileges and features, the tool allows an attacker to take full control of the victim’s machine. The malware can execute any bash command under root, monitor keystrokes, upload/download files to/from the victim’s machine, grab screenshots or webcam captures, get updates, and also send notifications to the attacker.

The Trojan also enables the attacker to connect via SSH/VNC to the target machine, and can even present a custom native window requesting information such as a credit-card, driver’s license and more. Further, the tool also packs iCloud access capability, even when two-factor authentication is enabled.

The malware can deliver these features because it “is shipped with genuine Apple code-signing signatures,” Sixgill researchers explain. The author might have tricked Apple’s filtration process for third-party software developers, either by registering to Apple’s developer program under a false ID, or by leveraging stolen developer credentials, which allowed them to get the necessary certificates.

Of higher concern would be the use of a previously unpatched 0-day vulnerability to gain root access. If such a vulnerability indeed exists and Proton’s author is in its possession, others might be aware of it and even exploit it as well.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

For distribution, Proton’s operators would simply need to masquerade the Trojan as a genuine application, with a custom icon and name, and then trick the victim into downloading and installing it.

The RAT is being sold through a dedicated website that also includes some promotional material related to the malware, along with a login system, the researchers say. Proton’s author advertises the tool under the premise of legitimate use, and even uploaded a short video demonstrating the installation process to YouTube.

Related: New “Filecoder” macOS Ransomware Surfaces

Related: Macro Malware Comes to macOS

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join security experts as they discuss ZTNA’s untapped potential to both reduce cyber risk and empower the business.


Join Microsoft and Finite State for a webinar that will introduce a new strategy for securing the software supply chain.


Expert Insights

Related Content


The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.


A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...


No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.

Malware & Threats

Threat actors are increasingly abusing Microsoft OneNote documents to deliver malware in both targeted and spray-and-pray campaigns.

Malware & Threats

Unpatched and unprotected VMware ESXi servers worldwide have been targeted in a ransomware attack exploiting a vulnerability patched in 2021.


The recent ransomware attack targeting Rackspace was conducted by a cybercrime group named Play using a new exploitation method, the cloud company revealed this...

Application Security

Virtualization technology giant VMware on Tuesday shipped urgent updates to fix a trio of security problems in multiple software products, including a virtual machine...

Malware & Threats

A vulnerability affecting IBM’s Aspera Faspex file transfer solution, tracked as CVE-2022-47986, has been exploited in attacks.