VB2018 video: Adware is just malware with a legal department - how we reverse engineered OSX/Pirrit, received legal threats, and survived

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Mar 8, 2019

OSX/Pirrit was first analysed in 2016 by Cybereason's Amit Serper in a guest blog post for the Objective See blog. It is an interesting and technically thorough analysis of a piece of adware that, as is not uncommon, uses techniques borrowed from malware.

 

pirrit.pngPirrit appears as an unsigned executable inside an app bundle, source: Objective See.

What happened next is also not entirely unheard of: Cybereason and Amit himself both started receiving legal threats from the company behind the adware. This led to a follow-up report (pdf) in which not only was the adware analysed but the legal threats were also discussed and Cybereason outlined its reasons for referring to the software as 'malware'. The use of an OS X zero-day exploit certainly contributed to that.

At VB2018 in Montreal, Amit gave a presentation in which he discussed both the adware and the legal threats he and Cybereason received. We have now uploaded the video of Amit's presentation to our YouTube channel. It is well worth watching right to end, including the message he has for fellow malware researchers who may find themselves in a similar situation.

 

Don't forget you have until the end of next week (deadline 17 March) to submit a paper for VB2019, the upcoming Virus Bulletin conference, which takes place 2-4 October in London, UK.

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2019 paper: APT cases exploiting vulnerabilities in region-specific software

At VB2019, JPCERT/CC's Shusei Tomonaga and Tomoaki Tani presented a paper on attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in software used only in Japan, using malware that is unique to Japan. Today we publish both their paper and the recording of their…

New paper: Detection of vulnerabilities in web applications by validating parameter integrity and data flow graphs

In a follow-up to a paper presented at VB2019, Prismo Systems researchers Abhishek Singh and Ramesh Mani detail algorithms that can be used to detect SQL injection in stored procedures, persistent cross-site scripting (XSS), and server‑side request…

VB2020 programme announced

VB is pleased to reveal the details of an interesting and diverse programme for VB2020, the 30th Virus Bulletin International Conference.

VB2019 paper: Cyber espionage in the Middle East: unravelling OSX.WindTail

At VB2019 in London, Jamf's Patrick Wardle analysed the WindTail macOS malware used by the WindShift APT group, active in the Middle East. Today we publish both Patrick's paper and the recording of his presentation.

VB2019 paper: 2,000 reactions to a malware attack – accidental study

At VB2019 cybercrime journalist and researcher Adam Haertlé presented an analysis of almost 2000 unsolicited responses sent by victims of a malicious email campaign. Today we publish both his paper and the recording of his presentation.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.