Mac users getting infected by malware

By on May 19, 2011
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It’s about time!

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It’s been a long held belief that Macs are less vulnerable to security attacks such as trojans, malware or virus. While there do exist antivirus software for Macs, people didn’t really need them. Until very recently that is.

News has been coming over since early May that many Mac users have been complaining about malware on their systems. ZDNet’s Ed Bott even blogged about this as he got in touch with an AppleCare Support rep who claimed that this issue is getting worse.

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I can tell you for a fact, many, many people are falling for this attack. Our call volume here at AppleCare is 4-5x higher than normal and [the overwhelming majority] of our calls are about this Mac Defender and its aliases.”

The issue here is that many people are being targeted by a malware called MAC Defender which claims that your Mac is infected and then requests you to install it. Herein lies the problem that many Mac users unwittingly install the fake antivirus software which then takes them to malicious websites through search results (proper SEO poisoning!), leaking info and other personal details in the process.

The fact is that people need to be more educated about security issues for their machines, whether it’s Windows or Macs, all are equally prone to attacks. Unless you’re running Linux.You can also check out these instructions for in-depth info on how MAC Defender and some of it’s other variants can cause harm to your system and your personal info and how to prevent it.

As of writing this post, the Mac Support forums are down, so it’s difficult to verify how widespread this issue is, but keep an eye out for more info.


About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

Comments
  • http://livingthetravelchannel.blogspot.com/ DaddyBird

    It’s not an infection, it’s not really even malware, it doesn’t “harm to your system and your personal info”; it’s just a scam, just like to the kind that has shown up in popup windows on some websites for ages.

    No anti-virus software is needed to prevent or remove this scam-ware, just the standard sort of caution needed anywhere on the Internet.

    If one hasn’t already, it’s advisable to turn off the “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” option in Safari. Or use a better browser entirely. ;-)

    • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

      “…just the standard sort of caution needed anywhere on the Internet.”

      That’s the issue. Many Mac users consider their system to be safe and wouldn’t think twice if a legitimate looking warning asked them to install an antivirus.

      • http://livingthetravelchannel.blogspot.com/ DaddyBird

        Yes, that is the issue, but you went with the headline, “Mac users getting infected by malware” and not “Mac users falling for common scam”. But I can see how you might have been attempting to help disabuse such Mac users of their false sense of invulnerability with a handy bit of hysteria. ;-)

        (And yes, I already had anti-virus software on my Macs, because it can’t be taken for granted.)

        • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

          “But I can see how you might have been attempting to help disabuse such
          Mac users of their false sense of invulnerability with a handy bit of
          hysteria. ;-)”

          Have a chocolate chip cookie, good sir.

        • http://twitter.com/taimoorh Taimoor Hafeez

          “But I can see how you might have been attempting to help disabuse such
          Mac users of their false sense of invulnerability with a handy bit of
          hysteria. ;-)”

          Have a chocolate chip cookie, good sir.

          • http://livingthetravelchannel.blogspot.com/ DaddyBird

            :-D

            Actually, I think I can get on board with that idea.

  • Guest

    Why is Linux comment striked out.

    True Linux is not safe from a similar attack but targeting linux as whole would be rather difficult.

    It maybe easier to aim for Debian Based Distros with the .deb installer, it would also make better sense as those are the most used distros.

    I find it hard to imagine though that someone who is using linux would fall for such a cheap trick.

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