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Scareware scammers target Mac users

False security

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Scareware scammers are trying to hoodwink Mac users into buying ineffective security software. MacSweeper is the first rogue cleaning tool for Macs, net security firm F-Secure reports.

MacSweeper claims to clean evidence of surfing for porn and other potentially embarrassing material from Macs. The tool turns up items to be cleaned whether or not there's any offending material. Users are prompted to buy the package to clean their machines.

The web version of the package will suggest Windows PCs are subject to vulnerabilities in folders only associated with Macs, providing evidence that MacSweeper is a scam.

Bogus applications such as MacSweeper have been around for years on Windows PCs. MacSweeper applies the same sales approach - tricking people into thinking they have security problems that can best be solved by buying software packages that in reality have little or no utility - for a different target audience, Mac users.

In a way the creation of the malware is a complement, of sorts, to the Mac. The growing popularity of the platform has made it a target for nefarious activity.

"[This] doesn't mean that Mac is becoming less secure in and of itself. But it does mean that Mac users will have to watch out for social engineering tricks just like Windows users have had to do for years," F-secure reports. ®

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