Beware of Cuckoo Malware: Protecting Your Mac from Data Theft

Mac users, attention! A new malware threat named Cuckoo lurks within seemingly harmless third-party apps. This malware can steal a wide range of sensitive data, from your hardware information to passwords and even screenshots of your desktop activity.

What is Cuckoo Malware?

Discovered by Apple device security company Kandji, Cuckoo hides within third-party applications, particularly music downloaders and iPhone/Android backup software. Initially found bundled with the “DumpMedia Spotify Music Converter” app, it has since been identified in apps distributed by websites like,, and others.

visual representation of Cuckoo Malware attacking Mac

How Does Cuckoo Infiltrate Macs?

Cuckoo leverages deceptive tactics. Unlike most legitimate Mac apps, installing Cuckoo-infected apps often involves right-clicking and selecting “Open” instead of dragging the app to the Applications folder. This bypasses security measures and allows the malware to run undetected in the background while the seemingly functional app opens.

What Information Does Cuckoo Steal?

Once installed, Cuckoo becomes a silent thief, collecting a vast amount of user data, including:

  • Hardware Details: Information about your Mac’s model, configuration, and peripherals.
  • Installed Apps & Processes: A list of all software programs running on your system.
  • User Data: Information from Apple Notes, messaging apps (Discord, Telegram), Safari browsing history & cookies, and even passwords stored in iCloud Keychain.
  • Real-time Screenshots: Captures images of your screen without your knowledge.

Protecting Yourself from Cuckoo

Cuckoo targets both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. Here’s how to stay safe:

  • Download Apps Only from Trusted Sources: Stick to Apple’s App Store whenever possible. If opting for third-party apps, research the developer’s reputation before downloading.
  • Beware of Deceptive Installation Methods: Be cautious of apps requiring methods other than the standard drag-and-drop to the Applications folder.
  • Install Antivirus Software: Consider using a reputable antivirus program designed for Mac to detect and block malware threats.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest malware threats by following reliable cybersecurity news sources.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to Cuckoo malware and safeguard your sensitive data on your Mac.

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