Apple's latest computers are being targeted by a new type of malware - and 30,000 machines are already infected

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Apple's latest computers are being targeted by a new type of malware - and 30,000 machines are already infected
Apple's M1 chip is the target of a new type of malware.Apple
  • Apple's latest line of computers are the target of a new type of malware.
  • The malware, nicknamed "Silver Sparrow," specifically targets Apple computers with new M1 chips.
  • Nearly 30,000 infections were detected by security firm Red Canary, primarily in the US and UK.

In November 2020, Apple unveiled a slate of new computers that were powered by the company's first-ever in-house silicon: The Apple M1 chip.

By early 2021, it looks like Apple's line of new computers has already been breached by a malicious set of software nicknamed "Silver Sparrow." Just shy of 30,000 of Apple's new computers have already been infected, according to the security firm Red Canary, primarily in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany.

The infected machines range from the Mac Mini desktop to the latest version of Apple's laptops. Both the latest MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro are powered by M1 chips.

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Notably, security researchers have yet to observe the Silver Sparrow malware actually doing anything harmful.

"Though we haven't observed Silver Sparrow delivering additional malicious payloads yet," Tony Lambert, an analyst at Red Canary intelligence, wrote in a blog post. "Its forward-looking M1 chip compatibility, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity suggest Silver Sparrow is a reasonably serious threat, uniquely positioned to deliver a potentially impactful payload at a moment's notice."

Though viruses are uncommon on Apple's computers, a variety of other malicious software impacts Macs. The best way to protect yourself is to use free software from companies like Malwarebytes, which scans your computer and quarantines harmful software.

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Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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