Microsoft reminds everyone how advanced a Mac trojan can be with new security report

Macbook Pro Touch Bar Hero
Macbook Pro Touch Bar Hero (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence team has released a new report showcasing the evolution of a trojan that's been on the scene since September 2020.
  • Since then, it's kept evolving in order to better torment Mac users.
  • Microsoft has dubbed the trojan UpdateAgent.

The Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence team is back with another massive report detailing its in-depth findings on the latest threat to computer owners' security. However, this time, Windows 11 users can stop sweating and put the towel down, since the heat is on Mac fans. Microsoft's report details a sophisticated trojan that's been steadily evolving since September 2020 to more effectively ruin Mac owners' days.

Microsoft has dubbed the trojan "UpdateAgent" and outlined its capabilities, which include pretending to be safe, harmless software and, worse, using a Mac's own specificities for nefarious purposes. If you thought Macs were bulletproof in terms of being able to safeguard you and only run trusted apps, UpdateAgent has bad news to share. And, worse, it's capable of cleaning its tracks once it's done ravaging your machine. Here's a taste of its evolutionary timeline, as stated by Microsoft:

Since its first appearance in September 2020, the malware displayed an increasing progression of sophisticated capabilities, and while the latest two variants were sporting much more refined behavior compared with earlier versions, they show signs that the malware is still in the development stage and more updates are likely to come. The latest campaign saw the malware installing the evasive and persistent Adload adware, but UpdateAgent's ability to gain access to a device can theoretically be further leveraged to fetch other, potentially more dangerous payloads.

Microsoft Mac Malware Updateagent Timeline

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

You can check out Microsoft's security blog post for the full scoop. Just know that so long as UpdateAgent variants roam the plains, Mac owners should use Microsoft Edge for additional protection (yes, the blog ultimately builds toward a Microsoft product plug, though there's additional guidance in the full post). This isn't the first time Microsoft's warned Apple fans of danger, and it likely won't be the last.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to