Don Moore

Yup, Macs Get Viruses Too

In Apple, computers, Malware on May 29, 2011 at 12:20 AM

The image above is a screencap of the program Mac Defender. The program runs a “scan” of Mac computers, then tell users that–surprise!–their Mac is crawling with malware. that’s quite alright though, because if the user just enters their credit card info, the registered version of Mac Defender will save the day, ridding the Mac of those dastardly viruses.

Of course, Mac Defender’s not a real anti-virus program. It’s an example of rogue security software, malicious programs that claim to be protecting computers, all the way trying to bilk users out of credit card info, and in some cases hijacking their browsers and making the computers generally unusable.

I’ve never owned a Mac, but I’ve seen these types of attacks on PCs dozens of times, both on my own PC and on those of other users. For an unsavvy user, rogue software is the perfect trap: it preys on the average user’s fear of having their computer attacked. And while not a new concept by any means, it does present a new threat for Mac users, who until recently have believed themselves immune from malware. Ironically, it’s the perception that Macs are invulnerable that may lead Mac users to be unusually trusting of apps that find their way onto Macs.

Apple has published instructions on how to remove the rogue programs on their site. They promise to release an update that will take care of this particular vulnerability, but it’s important to remember that no user should leave the safety of his or her computer in the hands of the OS maker. It’s always more prudent in the long run to rely on dedicated anti-virus programs-as well as good ole’ common sense.


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