Feeds

New Mac fake-defenders similar to Windows scareware

Added feature: Porn, drug sites opened at random

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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". ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.