Malware Assault Framework “Alchimist” Designed to Exploit Macs | Tech Deck

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Posted on Oct 20, 2022 by Joshua Lengthy

Researchers not too long ago found a brand new malware assault framework often known as Alchimist. Menace actors use Alchimist to remotely infect and management macOS, Linux, and Home windows computer systems. It’s possible that it was utilized in nature.

Apparently, Alchimist was found along with a malicious Mac utility designed to take advantage of a recognized vulnerability (CVE-2021-3034) in Polkit pkexec, a command-line utility that enables a licensed person to run an utility as one other person.

The vulnerability, dubbed PwnKit, a play on the identify Polkit, could be exploited to permit an attacker to realize native privilege escalation. Because of this the attacker may execute instructions or malicious software program with full administrative rights. The pkexec flaw went unnoticed for greater than a dozen years earlier than researchers found it in November 2021.

Though the pkexec utility is included by default with all main Linux distributions, Apple doesn’t embrace it with Mac working techniques. Due to this fact, it isn’t completely clear why the Alchimist builders designed the Mac malware to take advantage of a vulnerability in a utility that’s not included in macOS. Maybe the malware writers had been hoping to put in pkexec after which exploit it on the goal Mac, or maybe they had been focusing on somebody recognized to make use of pkexec on Mac.

How can Alchimist-related malware be eliminated or prevented?

Intego X9 Software BoxesIntego VirusBarrier X9, included with Intego Mac X9 Premium Bundlecan defend, detect and take away malware and exploits related to the Alchimist framework.

In the event you assume your Mac could have been contaminated, or to stop future infections, it is best to make use of antivirus software program from a trusted Mac developer. VirusBarrier is award-winning antivirus software program, designed by Mac safety consultants, that features real-time safety. It runs natively on Intel and Apple silicon-based Macs, and is suitable with Apple’s upcoming Mac working system, macOS Ventura.

If you’re a Home windows person, Intego Anti-Virus for Home windows it could possibly additionally defend your PC from threats associated to Alchimist.

Alchemist is understood by different names?

Intego VirusBarrier and Intego Antivirus for Windows detect this malware and related components as backdoor/BDS/Agent.ekgi, OSX/CVE-2021-4034, OSX/OSX.CVE.beswh, OSX/OSX.CVE.ykpzz, trojan/TR/ Batch.A, trojan/TR/Redcap.flcv, trojan/TR/Rozena.57446, virus/HTML/ExpKit.Gen, virus/LINUX/Agent.cpde, virus/LINUX/Agent.faqs, virus/LINUX/Agent. F, virus/LINUX/Agent.gzsh, virus/LINUX/Agent.igtr, virus/LINUX/Agent.jktr, virus/LINUX/Agent.jnxv, virus/LINUX/Agent.vzom, and virus/LINUX/Dldr.Agent . csjv.

Other vendors may also use the Insekt, EternalBlue, or Reshel malware family names for various components.

Indicators of Compromise (IoC)

The following SHA-256 hashes are from known files associated with Alchimist and related malware campaigns:


The following IP addresses appear to have been linked to this malware or related campaigns.


Network administrators can check logs to try to identify if any computers on their network may have tried to contact one of these IP addresses, which could indicate a possible infection.

How can I learn more?

For additional technical details on the Alchimist attack framework and its use in recent malware campaigns, you can read the recent article from C. Raghuprasad, A. Malhotra, V. Ventura, with M. Thaxton.

We briefly talked about Alchimist in episode 262 of the Intego Mac Podcast. Be sure to follow the podcast to make sure you don’t miss any episodes!

You can also subscribe to our electronic newsletter and keep an eye here on The Mac Security Blog for the latest security and privacy news from Apple. And don’t forget to follow Intego on your favorite social networks: Follow Intego on Twitter Follow Intego on Facebook Follow Intego on YouTube Follow Intego on Pinterest Follow Intego on LinkedIn Follow Intego on Instagram Follow the Intego Mac Podcast on Apple Podcasts

About Joshua Lengthy

joshua lengthy (@joshmeister), chief safety analyst at Intego, is a famend safety researcher, author, and public speaker. Josh has a grasp’s diploma in IT with a focus in Web safety and has taken doctoral degree programs in data safety. Apple has publicly credited Josh for locating an Apple ID authentication vulnerability. Josh has been conducting cybersecurity analysis for over 20 years, which has typically been featured in main media shops around the globe. Discover extra of Josh’s articles at and observe him on Twitter. View all posts by Joshua Lengthy →

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Malware Attack Framework “Alchimist” Designed to Exploit Macs