New malware Bird Miner targets Mac pirates


A fresh version of cryptocurrency mining malware called the Apple Mac Bird Miner targets pirated software users.

While cryptocurrency mining, also known as cryptojacking, is nothing fresh, it has an interesting function in this specific strain of malicious code: malware operates with Linux emulation on Mac.

The malware, identified asOSX.BirdMiner, was found in a cracked installer for Ableton Live 10, music manufacturing software used, Malwarebytes said in a Thursday blog post.

Researchers say that the unlawful software installer and the modified version can be downloaded from the pirate’s VST Crack page. Considering that the software is used to produce high-end music, the file size of 2.6 GB may not put off prospective victims— but it secretly includes the Bird Miner that instantly starts to operate on installation.

The installer buries files with randomized names in the application and shares directories, among others.

While the installer produces random names from a devoted wordlist script, certain sentences are prevented, especially terms with which many of us, despite being on the list, would not want to be associated, such as “Nazi” and “Hitler.”

The dropped files include daemons tasked with starting shell scripts including Crax, a system that scans for Activity Monitor, the process checker for Mac.

If the software is in use, the malware will attempt to “unload the other processes,” says Malwarebytes, probably in an attempt to avoid detection.

Bird Miner launches a sequence of CPU controls if the Activity Monitor is not active. CPU energy is needed to mine cryptocurrency effectively and the malware will bail out if the CPU usage is above 85 percent.

However, anything less than 85% will lead in the start-up daemons running Pecora and Krugerite loading executable files individually.

One of the executables is called Nigel, an old version of the emulator software open source known as Qemu. This virtualization software command line uses the Apple hypervisor to operate a Linux executable image— Tiny Core— hosting another file named Poaceae.

The image also contains mydata.tgz, a file that guarantees certain processes, including the XMRig, a cryptocurrency miner of Monero (XMR).

As these files are loaded individually by the scripts, victims may end up working at the same moment with two miners.

“As quickly as the Tiny Core system starts up, XMRig starts without ever having to log in with a user,” say the scientists.

Since the initial discovery, further malware instances have been discovered in cracked VST Crack installers. Bird Miner is probably in circulation for a minimum of four months.

Hiding a miner in a bootable picture is somewhat stealthy, but scientists claim that considering the malware’s heavy footprint and the decision to emulate rather than operate as a indigenous software, Bird Miner “shoots himself in the foot, stealth-wise.” “The fact that Bird Miner was produced this way probably shows that the writer is probably acquainted with Linux, but is not especially versed in macOS,” “While this technique obscures the miner himself, which could assist the malware avoid detection, dependence on shell scripts and the heavy footprint of operating not one but two miners concurrently in emulation counteract this advantage.”

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.