Apple Mac virus can take screenshots and see everything you type

Computers running Apple's OS X software are vulnerable to the malware

Anew strain of malicious software that can be used to steal information from Mac computers has been discovered by security researchers.

The malware, called Mokes.A, can take screenshots from a computer every 30 seconds, as well as access photos, videos and documents, according to Stefan Ortloff, the Kaspersky Lab researcher who found the program. A version of the malware for PC was discovered earlier this year.

It can also see what keys a user is typing onto their keyboard which, along with screenshots, could hand a hacker bank credentials, passwords and other sensitive information. And it could let hackers control the breached computer remotely.

The discovery of the rare piece of malware that can access a Mac computer running OS X comes a week after Apple was forced to releasetwo urgent security updates for its mobile and desktop operating systems. Security researchers discovered a flaw that could have let hackers take complete control of the devices with the click of a link.

This isn’t the first time that researchers have unearthed malware that can be used to target Mac computers, although they are far less susceptible than PCs. Earlier this year Apple customers fell victim to the first ransomware campaign against Macs, in which malware is used to lock a machine that cyber criminals will only release on receiving payment.

Ortloff first found a PC version of the Mokes.A software backdoor in January that could be used to attack Windows and Linux computers. That the same piece of software can be used to attack different kinds of machines means this piece of malware has a significant number of potential victims.

How to protect yourself

It is not clear how the malware is first installed on computers, be it through links online, malicious adverts or phishing attacks. That makes it very difficult to protect against the software being installed on a computer in the initial instance.

But antivirus software from the likes of Kaspersky, Symantec and Sophos can help to find and destroy the malware.

Although “it remains true that the risk of encountering malware for OS X is significantly lower than Windows, Ortloff advised: “Don’t install software from untrusted sources, and keep the operating system and applications updated.”