SpectralBlur macOS Backdoor

Urgent Alert spectralblur backdoor

Bar Refael

January 8, 2024

Cybersecurity researchers have identified a new backdoor malware targeting Apple macOS systems, named SpectralBlur. This malware has been attributed to North Korean threat actors and overlaps with known malware families associated with these actors.

SpectralBlur Key Details

  • Malware Identification: SpectralBlur is recognized as a moderately capable backdoor.
  • Capabilities: It can upload and download files, execute shell commands, update its configuration, delete files, and control system states (hibernate or sleep), based on commands from a command-and-control (C2) server.
  • Association with KANDYKORN: SpectralBlur shares functional similarities with KANDYKORN (also known as SockRacket), an advanced implant functioning as a remote access trojan (RAT).
  • Link to BlueNoroff Campaign: The activities involving KANDYKORN intersect with another campaign orchestrated by the Lazarus sub-group known as BlueNoroff, which is known for deploying a backdoor called RustBucket and a payload dubbed ObjCShellz.
  • Recent Tactics: North Korean threat actors have been observed to combine elements of these malware families, such as using RustBucket droppers to deliver KANDYKORN, indicating an evolving threat landscape targeting macOS systems.
  • Industry Target: The primary focus appears to be on high-value targets within the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.
  • Malware Analysis and Detection: Notable are the malware’s attempts to evade analysis and detection. It employs techniques like using grantpt to establish a pseudo-terminal for executing shell commands.

SpectralBlur Context and Implications

  • Increasing Focus on macOS: There is a noticeable increase in the targeting of macOS systems by North Korean actors, with SpectralBlur being a significant part of this trend.
  • Rising Threat to Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: The specific targeting of the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors suggests a strategic focus of these threat actors on potentially lucrative targets.
  • Growth in macOS Malware: The discovery of SpectralBlur contributes to a growing list of new macOS malware families, which is indicative of the increasing popularity of macOS in enterprise environments and the consequent attention from cybercriminals.


  • Vigilance and Monitoring: Organizations, especially those in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries, should be vigilant and actively monitor for signs of such intrusions.
  • Enhanced Security Measures: Implementing advanced security solutions and practices tailored to macOS environments is crucial.
  • Regular Updates and Patching: Keeping systems and security software up-to-date is key to defending against known vulnerabilities and malware variants.


The emergence of SpectralBlur underscores the evolving nature of cybersecurity threats, particularly towards macOS systems and specific industry sectors. Organizations should adapt their security strategies accordingly to mitigate these risks.

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