New AdLoad malware variant slips through Apple's XProtect defenses

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A new AdLoad malware variant is slipping through Apple's YARA signature-based XProtect built-in antivirus tech to infect Macs as part of multiple campaigns tracked by American cybersecurity firm SentinelOne.

AdLoad is a widespread trojan targeting the macOS platform since at least since late 2017 and used to deploy various malicious payloads, including adware and Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). This malware can also harvest system information that later gets sent to remote servers controlled by its operators.

These massive scale and ongoing attacks have started as early as November 2020, according to SentinelOne threat researcher Phil Stokes, with an increase in activity beginning with July and the beginning of August.

Once it infects a Mac, AdLoad will install a Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) web proxy to hijack search engine results and inject advertisements into web pages for monetary gain.