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Apple Macs Powered by Both M1 and Intel Chips Found With New ‘Silver Sparrow’ Bug, Threat Still Unknown

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Security researchers have detected that a new strain of malware on roughly 30,000 (numbers likely to increase) Apple Mac models. According to researchers at Red Canary (via Ars Technica), the malware Silver Sparrow has been detected in 153 countries with a higher number of cases in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and France. The security firm claims that as of February 18, no payload was observed, meaning that hackers have not yet utilised the malware to hack into the Apple Mac. The malware reportedly has two different types, one designed for Intel-powered Macs while the other is compiled specifically for Apple’s new M1 chipset.

Speaking more over the seriousness of the Silver Sparrow on Apple Macs, Red Canary researchers, in a blog post note that the malware’s compatibility with the Apple M1 chipset, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity suggests that it is positioned to deliver a potentially impactful payload. It is also said to contain self-destructive capabilities. “Given these causes for concern, in the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share everything we know with the broader infosec industry sooner rather than later,” the researchers added.

Though Silver Sparrow was detected on 30,000 Macs, its origin remains unclear. Since no payload was detected as well, the purpose of the malware also remains unknown, and researchers don’t know what its final goal is.

Notably, just weeks ago, the first malware on the new M1-powered Apple Mac came to light. The discovery came from the founder of Objective-See, Patrick Wardle, who found the new bug in the wild in the form of a Safari adware extension, originally written to run on Intel x86 chips. The malicious extension, called “GoSearch22,” is a well-known member of the “Pirrit” Mac adware family and was first spotted at the end of December 2020. Pirrit is one of the oldest and most active Mac adware families and has been known to constantly change in an attempt to evade detection, so, unsurprisingly, it has already begun adapting for the ‌M1‌.

Meanwhile, Apple has told Mashable that the company retracted certificates of the developer accounts used to sign the packages. “So, new Macs are prevented from being infected,” the report citing Apple adds.



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TECHNOLOGY

Truecaller’s Guardians Could Just Be The App Your Family Needs, Particularly When They Travel

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You may already be using Truecaller, the incredibly popular app for detecting and blocking spam calls and managing messages on smartphones on your Android phone or Apple iPhone. The makers of the Truecaller app are now rolling out a new app call Guardians, which is designed as a personal safety app that lets you share your live location with guardian contacts and request for help in case you need it. The idea behind this app is to share your live location when you may be out and about and traveling alone, with select contacts called guardians, something that makes a lot of sense in these times when women’s safety in particular remains a big concern. The Guardians app is free to download and use and will be available for Android phones as well as the Apple iPhone.

The way the Guardians app works is that you can add friends and family as Guardians on the app—they will get a notification to accept your request. You can then choose to share your live location with them for a particular trip (this is called Watch Over Me) or permanently share your location with them (this feature is called Forever Share). The Guardians app will have an “I Need Help” button which will send emergency notifications and location data to the contacts you have selected as guardians. The guardian contacts will get your phone status data as well, such as battery strength and phone profile status, to give you a better understanding of the emergency situation.

The Guardians app by Truecaller is a standalone app that can be used by anyone, and isn’t an integrated part of another app, such as the Uber cab booking app, for example. This means you can share your location data with your parents if you are taking a late-night cab back from work, have your friends track you as you head home using public transport after a movie or even allow family members to track elders who may be traveling at the time.

Truecaller insists that privacy very much remains the foundation that Guardians is built on. The company confirms that neither they can, nor can anyone else, see the data. The live location data is shared with encryption between the person sharing the location data and the person receiving the location data. The company also insists that no data will also be shared with any third parties. Since your location data isn’t shared on any servers anywhere, there is no option to revisit a previous journey at a later date.

There is also a volunteer guardian option in case you call for help and your guardian contacts aren’t nearby or are some distance away. The developers say that the app will then search for those who have signed up as volunteers on the Guardian app and ping them requesting for help. However, questions remain about the volunteer backgrounds and how these checks may be done for all volunteers who sign up on the app, though the developers insist there are multiple checks already in place and more can be put in place if there is a need for it. At this time, the Guardians app is still not available on the Apple App Store for the iPhone, and we have not been able to check the process of signing up as a volunteer and the verifications that it may entail.

The Guardians app by Truecaller rolls out today on the Google Play Store for Android phones and will be available from tomorrow on the Apple App Store for iPhone users.



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