Feeds

Apple ships removal tool for Mac-menacing malware

MacDefender Defender hits the streets

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Apple has updated its Mac operating system to protect against a malicious application that has been hoodwinked untold numbers of users by masquerading as legitimate security software that warns they have serious infections on their machines.

Apple issued Security Update 2011-003 on Tuesday to update Mac OS X to detect for MacDefender, one of several trojans that gets installed through an elaborate ruse that's become almost a rite of passage for owners of machines running Microsoft Windows. Those behind the scareware hook their victims by presenting them with web images that depict an antivirus scan taking place on their machines. The images falsely claim users have serious malware infections and urge them to download and install the antivirus package. Those who fall for the scam are then infected.

A ZDNet blogger recently counted 200 separate discussion threads on discussions.apple.com in which users complained of infections that caused their Macs to behave erratically. Apple had instructed members of its support team to withhold any confirmation that a customer's Mac has been infected with malware or to assist in removing malicious programs, the blogger, Ed Bott, had said.

Apple's malware protection debuted in a Mac OS X beta version in 2009 with signatures for just two Mac trojans. It was updated in April 2010 and in March of this year for the HellRTS and OSX.OpinionSpy trojans, respectively.

The malware detection feature monitors software downloaded by a limited number of applications, such as Safari, iChat, and Mail, and warns when the software includes one of the five malicious titles.

Security Update 2011-003 provides additional protection by checking for the MacDefender malware and its known variants,” an Apple advisory stated. “If MacDefender malware is found, the system will quit this malware, delete any persistent files, and correct any modifications made to configuration or login files.”

Once MacDefender has been identified and removed, a message warning of the attempted attack will be displayed the next time a user logs into an administrator account. The signature is designed to detect known variants of MacDefender. That means it should flag a variant known as MacGuard, which exploits default Mac settings to install itself without requiring a user to enter an administrative password.

Once the security update is installed, it will check for updates to the malware list each day. The addition of daily malware checks is perhaps Apple's biggest admission to date that Macs aren't immune from the types of attacks that have dogged Windows users for years. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.