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Friday, May 20, 2011

Mac Users Be Aware of the MacDefender, aka MacProtector, aka MacSecurity Malware

While surfing Google for a recipe I clicked on a poisoned SEO query result and stumbled upon a trojan horse malware virus written for Mac users that's apparently been making the rounds for about three weeks now. (CLICK HERE for Apple Inc.'s acknowledgement of the malware threat and advice on how to avoid and remove Mac Defender.)


It's a trojan horse. . . Um, I mean apple.

Once you click on a link hosting the malware there is no obvious way to escape the browser window short of clicking a button that will download the malware onto your computer. As I sat and pondered how to escape an inescapable screen, a fake Mac looking warning came up and a fake virus scanner started running. Messages began appearing telling me my computer was infected with viruses.


If you do accidentally go to a web page that tries to infect your Mac computer attempting to quit the program from your dock or using Command + Q won't work. You must force quit.

Here is how to force quit:

CLICK all three keys at the same time to Force Quit the installer or browser window:



If you do click on a link, as far as I can tell, this is what will happen:
  1. Once you click on a link you will download the malware to your computer
  2. You will then be solicited to purchase fake virus protection software, voluntarily giving your credit card number to the culprits
  3. If you click to install the fake virus protection software you will then infect your computer 

Now that a virus is a known problem best practices would dictate that you turn off the Safari Preference that allows all "Safe" files to automatically open after downloading. You can do this by going to Safari Preferences - General - and uncheck the Open "safe" files box.

It should look like this and click "Save."


Once installed the malware does three things:
  1. It can steal your logins and passwords
  2. Will try to trick you into paying for fake anti-virus software (cancel your credit card if you've already done this)
  3. Will attempt to disable any security you do have on your Mac


If you've already installed the malware here's an article about How to remove MacDefender fake antivirus program.

It's actually not a big surprise and is the price Apple is paying for its success. Everyone has always said that the Mac audience was too small for hackers to bother writing viruses for their users. But with Apple Inc.'s recent surge in popularity and profitability it was just a matter of time before Mac users would be targeted the way PC users have been for years.


New MACDefender malware discovered for OS X

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