Feeds

Apple showers love on Mac malware protection

Feeds Snow Leopard's neglected Xprotect

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

For only the second time in 19 months, Apple has updated the signatures used to protect Mac users against malware attacks.

An update released Monday for Mac OS X 10.6, aka, Snow Leopard, adds detection for a trojan known as OSX.OpinionSpy. The malware comes bundled with Mac screensavers and applications available on various websites, according to Marco Preuss , a researcher with antivirus provider Kaspersky Labs. Once installed, OpinionSpy mines personal information entered into Safari, Firefox and elsewhere and sends it to servers controlled by the attackers.

Kaspersky has seen just 13 OpinionSpy infections since the beginning of the year, mainly by users located in India.

OpinionSpy warning delivered by Snow Leopard

The addition brings the total number of malware signatures included in Snow Leopard to four. The malware protection debuted in an OS X beta released in mid 2009 with signatures for just two well-known Mac trojans, known as RSPlug and iServices. Apple later updated the malware protection to detect a backdoor threat known as HellRTC, which was detected in April, according to Mac AV provider Intego.

The protection, which many are calling Xprotect, provides a popup window that warns users that the program they are trying to install “will damage your computer” and should be moved to trash. The warning is provided only when the files are downloaded using Safari, Firefox, Mail, Entourage, iChat and a handful of other applications. According to an analysis from 2009, the window is not activated if the same malicious file has been downloaded using Skype or transferred from a DVD, CD or thumb drive.

It's unclear what the criteria is for adding signatures to Xprotect. Mac security experts say the number of known malware applications that target OS X is probably in the hundreds.

The addition was part of a monster package of Snow Leopard security patches that fixed 56 vulnerabilities, including one that researcher Charlie Miller had hoped to use two weeks ago at the annual Pwn2Own hacker contest. The exploit went unused because another contestant drew a higher lottery number and was able to compromise the Mac dedicated to the competition first.

At least 45 of the bugs Apple fixed on Monday made it possible for attackers to execute malicious code, according to Apple's advisory. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV
Alert system tips oblivious phone junkies to oncoming traffic
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Red Hat, Apple scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.