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Apple now also lets its XProtect antimalware software detect viruses in .exe files. It’s necessary to protect Macs from a new type of attack.

Apple expands its rudimentary XProtect antivirus software with virus detection capabilities in Windows files. The security software can now recognize threats in .exe files. Executable files with this extension are generally not compatible with mac OS, but recently a virus has appeared that circumvents this limitation.

Mac malware

The culprit is the TrojanSpy.MacOS.Winplyer malware, which was bundled in the Little Snitch firewall application for mac. Installation of the firewall was done by means of a .dmg file, but it contained a .exe file. The malware also contained a framework that allowed it to run .exe files in a Mac environment. In this way, the malware was able to infect macs in the end, although it is unclear whether this also happened in the wild. The virus was discovered by Trend Micro.

In response to this reality, Apple is therefore expanding the detection capabilities of XProtect. From now on, such attacks will be detected by the antivirus program, provided that security researchers detect them in time. After all, XProtect is an old-style antivirus program that only uses signature detection. In other words: only malware that has already been discovered, and for which a signature exists, is also detected by XProtect.

Windows Defender

The update shows that criminals are becoming more and more creative, and that despite persistent rumours, macs are not immune to cyber attacks at all. For its part, Microsoft recently focused on Mac protection with the roll-out of Defender for Mac OS. The main purpose of the software was to offer the giant a unified security policy for organisations with Windows PCs and Macs.

Related: Microsoft will defend iMacs and MacBooks with Defender

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.