Nearly 30,000 Mac devices across the world have been silently infected with a mysterious new malware, according to security researchers.
The researchers from Red Canary company discovered the malware christened Silver Sparrow and studied it together with their counterparts from Malwarebytes and VMWare Carbon Black.
“According to data provided by Malwarebytes, Silver Sparrow had infected 29,139 macOS endpoints across 153 countries as of February 17, including high volumes of detection in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany,” wrote Tony Lambert of Red Canary in a report published last week.
Details on how the malware was spread and infected Mac users remains unclear even as most Mac malware strains are nowadays hidden in pirated apps, malicious ads or fake Flash updaters.
The intention of the malware infection and its endgame is also yet to be fully understood.
According to the researchers, Silver Sparrow infects a computer system then just sits there and waits for new commands from its inventors, instructions that did not come during the analysis period.
Red Canary, however, warned that the malware strain should not be underrated as it maybe detecting the analysis by the researchers and might deliver its second-stage payloads to the Macs.
Most infected systems show evidence that it poses a serious threat and the malware and supports infection of macOS systems which run on Apple's latest M1 chip architecture.
Silver Sparrow is only the second discovered malware strain able to run on the M1 designs after the first one discovered just four days earlier, proving just how innovative the new threat actually is.
According to the report by the Red Canary, the malware has evidence that can be used to detect which exact systems have been infected.