Malicious Python Code and LittleSnitch Detection

We all run plenty of security tools on our endpoints. Their goal is to protect us by preventing infection (or trying to prevent it). But all those security tools are present on our devices like normal applications and are, therefore, easy to detect. Techniques to detect the presence of such security tools are multiple:

  • Detecting processes
  • Detecting windows (via the title)
  • Detecting configuration (files or registries)
  • Detecting injected DLL
  • Detecting debuggers
  • ...

Those techniques remain the same on every operating system (with some deviations of course - the registry is specific to Windows). I found a malicious script targeting macOS computers which implements a very basic check to detect the presence of LittleSnitch[1]. This tool is very popular amongst Apple users. It detects and reports all attempts to connect to the Internet by applications (egress traffic). For malware, it's important to stay stealthy and the presence of LittleSnitch could reveal an attempt to connect to a C2 server.

I spotted a simple Python script (SHA256:e5eb6d879eaca9b29946a9e5b611d092e0cce3a9821f2b9e0ba206ac5b375f8b) part of a red-team exercise, that tris to detect the presence of LittleSnitch:

cmd = "ps -ef | grep Little\ Snitch | grep -v grep"
ps = subprocess.Popen(cmd, shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE)
out =
if"Little Snitch", out):

Simple but effective!


Xavier Mertens (@xme)
Senior ISC Handler - Freelance Cyber Security Consultant

I will be teaching next: Reverse-Engineering Malware: Malware Analysis Tools and Techniques - SANS October Singapore 2022


712 Posts
ISC Handler
Nov 20th 2020

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