Hackers Unleash CloudMensis Spyware

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • Jul 20, 2022

CloudMensis spyware has emerged as a nasty threat to businesses and everyday computer users. It appears as though the spyware went undocumented for quite some time. However, now that cyber security specialists have had the opportunity to dive into CloudMensis deeply, they understand more about how the threat operates and the machines it targets.

Who is in the Crosshairs of CloudMensis?

If you own or use an Apple computer, you should be aware of this new form of spyware. CloudMensis primarily spyware zeroes in on computing devices with macOS operating systems.

Why is the Malware Referred to as CloudMensis?

CloudMensis received its name from ESET, a cyber security business based in Slovakia. The malware primarily functions with public cloud services used for storage. Examples of such services include Dropbox and Yandex Disk. Those cloud storage services are provided with commands from attackers, setting the stage for the exfiltration of files.

What is the Purpose of the Spyware?

CloudMensis' capabilities demonstrate that the operators aim to steal highly sensitive information from Apple computers. The theft of that information occurs with document exfiltration, screen captures, and keystroke capture.

When Did Hackers Activate CloudMensis?

The hackers responsible for this unique form of spyware started using it to steal sensitive information back in April this year. Though the spyware primarily zeroes in on Apple machines, it also has the potential to strike Intel architectures. The first vector for infection is currently unknown.

CloudMensis wasn't distributed far and wide when it initially debuted. This limited coverage indicates that the malware is a component of an overarching operation that targets specific businesses or other organizations with valuable information.

How is the Attack Performed?

Digital security professionals with ESET indicate the attack chains they've analyzed make use of code execution and administrator privileges to implement initial stage payloads, then obtain and perform malware hosting on the cloud. At this point, the documents are exfiltrated, screenshots are analyzed, and email attachments are viewed.

The backdoor obtains lists of running processes, plucks files from the targeted machine's removable storage devices, and can even spur shell commands and additional payloads. The threat even allows for the sidestepping of the TCC security framework that strives to guarantee apps secure user consent before accessing information stored in files on the computer Desktop, the Downloads folder, in the Documents folder, on iCloud Drive, or elsewhere.

The initial stage downloader also has the potential to eliminate Safari sandbox escape/privilege escalation exploits that utilize several security exploits that have since been fortified. As a result, digital security specialists insist CloudMensis might have gone unnoticed for several years, potentially dating back to 2017. However, no one in the digital security community is entirely certain about the spyware's actual origination date.

How Complex and Evolved is the Threat?

Digital security professionals insist the threat isn't as sophisticated as initially assumed as the code is of inferior quality. CloudMensis also fails to sufficiently conceal its activity, revealing the hackers in question are somewhat amateurish.

The digital security community is willing to admit that the evildoers behind CloudMensis invested plenty of time, effort, and resources into the spying tool, meaning it is likely to evolve as time progresses. You can do your part by updating your cyber security defenses today to prevent a debilitating digital intrusion on your network or computers.

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