One of the biggest disadvantages of using pirated software is the increased risk of letting your computer get infected with malware. Cybercriminals often bundle the cracked versions of paid software on piracy websites with adware and cryptominer to earn free cash. So, if you’re installing such programs from unknown sources, the chances of you getting hacked are pretty good.
The same attack vector is being used by hackers to distribute a new Mac cryptocurrency miner named Bird Miner. As Malwarebytes’ official blog explains, Bird Miner has been found to be bundled with a cracked installer of a software named Ableton Live, which is a tool for high-end music production.
Malwarebytes found that Ableton Live 10’s cracked 2.6 GB installer is available on piracy website VST Crack. Security researchers from the firm became suspicious when they found that Bird Miner’s post installation script was busy copying installed files to new locations with random names.
The new files with random names seem to have various functions, including the role of launch daemons. One such daemon launches a shell script called Crax, which makes sure that the malware is hidden from the security researchers. The malware further checks to see if your Mac’s CPU is operating at more than 85 percent load to avoid running the cryptomining script in this case.
Bird Miner uses Tiny Core Linux emulation
The last piece of the puzzle is the launch of an executable named Nigel, which is an old version of an open source emulator named Qemu. For those who don’t know, Qemu is a terminal-only virtualization software that lets one run Linux packages on non-Linux machines.
The Qemu emulator further uses a file named Poaceae, which is a bootable Tiny Core Linux image. Finally, as soon as the Tiny Core system boots up, the xmrig miner starts running to mine the Monero cryptocurrency.
The Malwarebytes researchers mention that familiarity with Linux could be the reason why creators of the malware chose the Linux route. This malware further shows why using pirated software increases the chances of getting infected very easily.