Although less affected than other platforms, Macs are not not immune to viruses and malware. And it will certainly be the same for the Mac M1! Security researcher Patrick Wardle was able to identifier GoSearch22, malware specifically compiled for computers with an Apple chip.
The application contains the Pirrit virus, an adware that displays advertising and siphons data. Antiviruses know how to spot it and get rid of it… on Intel Macs. As the Mac M1s are still very new, these tools are not yet able to effectively detect threats specifically designed to target the new platform.
The Apple signature of the developer of GoSearch22 dates back to November 23, but the manufacturer has revoked the certificate. We can no longer know if the code has been “notarized” or not. Wardle explains, however, that the binary has been spotted in the wild, which means some M1 Macs have likely been infected. The other lesson of this discovery is that hackers wereted no time in taking an interest in Mac M1s and that vigilance remains in order.