Feeds

Apple strikes back with update blocking new scareware

'The cat and mouse game has begun'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Apple has updated Mac OS X to detect a piece of scareware that managed to bypass its malware-blocking measures.

As previously reported, a variant of a rogue antivirus package known as MacDefender was introduced on Tuesday that evaded the malware protection feature built into the latest version of the Mac operating system. In a series of events that closely mimics those in the Windows world, the variant was introduced just hours after Apple had added a malware signature designed to stop downloads of the malicious program.

"The cat and mouse game has begun," Mac antivirus provider Intego wrote in a blog post published on Thursday. "We will be following this closely, and testing all new variants as they appear. The people behind this malware have shown that they can react very quickly, and Apple has reacted rapidly as well."

Mac OS X Security preferences pane

Mac OS X System Preferences > Security > General: better safe than sorry

The latest update is specifically designed to detect a file called mdInstall.pkg, which installs MacDefender.C. Like similarly named programs such as MacGuard, the programs get installed after Mac users are tricked into believing their machines are riddled with infections. The ruse works by presenting people surfing Google Images, Facebook, and other sites with images depicting an antivirus scan on a Mac hard drive. Inevitably, the scan falsely claims that the users' machines are compromised and urges the rogue antivirus package be installed immediately.

Apple added the MacDefender definitions on Tuesday, following widely scattered evidence that the social engineering attacks were achieving their intended result.

The update protecting against the latest variant will automatically be installed on Macs running the latest version of Mac OS X that are configured to do so. To turn on automatic updating, go to System Preferences > Security, and select the General tab. Then make sure there is a check mark next to "Automatically update safe downloads list." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.