New ‘MACDefender’ Malware Threat for Mac OS X – Mac Rumors

Mac owners, I think the honeymoon is close to be over. What I mean is that the relative obscurity that we’ve enjoyed by being under the radar for malware authors won’t last forever. A couple weeks ago a piece of malware covertly installed itself onto my Windows partition while I was searching for a driver. Well, looks like a simple image search while using Safari can make the same thing happen to your Mac partition. More info after the break.

I came across information on this threat via a Mac Rumors’ article detailing the threat. Users are reporting the malware install popping up directly on image search results pages, auto-installing (per victims’ claims) on systems with a certain preference flag set.

I’ve always felt it was a disservice for Mac ads to tout “no viruses” or imply “no malware” when there really is nothing intrinsically “safer” about the platform. Some people say “you have to have root access to really do any damage, so unix-based OS’s are safer.” That is only half true. To do major system damage – like reformatting drives – yes you need root access. But, you can do all kinds of havoc through a user’s account – like destroying all their documents and images.

The “we’re safer” argument also falls flat because the reason malware exists isn’t really to destroy your files, but to steal your money.

Mac users: the more popular Macs become, the more frequently and fervently they will be targeted. Be careful.

10 Replies to “New ‘MACDefender’ Malware Threat for Mac OS X – Mac Rumors”

  1. I honestly think this is all in the person. It’s your own browsing habits that can get you it not trouble or your lack of knowledge also.

    My MAC will remain clean unless someone website or email tricks me, I doubt it will happen, into installing or responding. You just need to be smart about what you do online is all.

    Just like online chat rooms, if you are in one, you better realize that she isn’t as pretty as she says she is!

    1. the initial reports said the malware was auto-downloading and auto-installing, without user initiation, just by google searching… clarifications said it still auto-downloads when you click the preview image, but the claims of auto-install are being challenged…

  2. Macs are safer right now.. not really more secure.

    You give a mac and a PC to someone’s mom, check back in 6 months and see what platform has malware on it.

    This will change as Mac users become more prevalent. I do think that it will take a long time for that to happen.

  3. The reports that are showing up are exaggerated.After talking with a few friends both at apple and who work in security. This is a user download app, it still has to ask permission to install, and because it wants system access means you have to give it your admin password to install.

    Apple has created the app store to help keep this from happening they can screen apps before they become public. If you are downloading them from someone else you should know that they are a trusted source before you use it. This has affected less then 1% of systems the number is minuscule and due to lack of knowledge.

  4. Apple has issue a statment:

    “In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware.”

    Apple describes “MacDefender” as a recent phishing scam that has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender “anti-virus” software to solve the issue.

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