One of the reasons why Apple is so insistent on users getting their apps through the App Store is because of the checks that they put in place to prevent bad actors from getting in. However, it’s a slightly different story for Mac computers where users can download apps from anywhere, which can be dangerous.
However, Apple has a feature called notarization which basically means that if developers want to distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store, they will need to go through a notarization process. Unfortunately, according to a report from security researcher Patrick Wardle has revealed that Apple had somehow accidentally notarized malware.
The report claims that a user meant to visit brew.sh but accidentally went to homebrew.sh and was greeted with a fake warning that Adobe Flash was out of date, which the user then went on to install the “update” which was really malware in disguise. Typically, this would not have happened under normal circumstances if the software was not notarized, but somehow this slipped through the cracks.
Apple has since rescinded the notarization for this particular malware, but that’s apparently not the end of it. Wardle reports that the website has since been updated with a slightly different version of the previous malware that was also notarized.