Feeds

New Mac fake-defenders similar to Windows scareware

Added feature: Porn, drug sites opened at random

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Researchers at Microsoft have discovered striking similarities between the recently emerged wave of scareware packages targeting Mac fans and the longer established rogue anti-virus applications for Windows.

MacDefender falsely warns that Mac OS X machines are infected with malware in a bid to trick prospective marks into buying a supposed security package that actually does more harm than good. Like its Windows cousin, the scam starts after users are tricked – via search engine manipulation and other ruses – into visiting an imitation scanner interface.

But the similarities between MacDefender (dubbed FakeMacdef) and Winwebsec, a strain of scareware for Windows machines, go far deeper than that.

For one thing, the URL format that FakeMacdef calls home is almost identical to that which we see in Winwebsec. In additional, the purchase pages use the same payment gateway. Finally, as a blog post by Microsoft illustrates, the interfaces on both products are almost the same.

The one main difference between MacDefender and its Windows-targeting siblings is that the Mac-targeting malware is more aggressive. MacDefender frightens users further by loading adult-oriented or pharmaceutical websites at random intervals. These sites themselves aren't infected by malware, but are loaded in order to trick Mac users into thinking they really are infected – and that MacDefender offers the best way out of the supposed mess, Microsoft said.

FakeMacdef loads most of its resources from a directory named "ru.lproj", suggesting the developer may be a Russian language speaker.

At least three Mac-targeting scareware packages have been doing the rounds this month: Mac Defender, Mac Protector and Mac Security. All three are bogus but don't expect Apple to tell you that, much less talk customers through the process of getting rid of the nuisance.

Standing orders, leaked this week, mean that Apple consumer rights people are told to neither confirm nor deny Mac infections.

The internal document, entitled About 'Mac Defender' Malware, further instructs Apple support personnel "not [to] provide support for removal of the malware". ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.