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Apple finally admits to its fake anti-virus malware problem

Macdefender fools Mac users
Wed May 25 2011, 12:39

PRISTINE PASTEL Apple has finally admitted that Mac users have been having problems with fake anti-virus software, and will put out a software update in the next few days that should automatically find and remove the offending malware.

This admission comes after Apple's help lines and forums indicated a significant increase in users falling victim to the scam, together with reports that the cappuccino company wasn't acknowledging the problem and was not helping victims. Along with the admission, Apple also offered advice on how to avoid installing the malware and how to remove it.

The scam targets victims by redirecting them from legitimate web sites to fake web sites that claim the computer has a virus. The user is then offered an opportunity to download fake anti-virus software under a name like Macdefender, Macprotector or Macsecurity. To do this requires credit card information, which the criminals behind the scheme hungrily pick up and proceed to abuse.

This type of fake anti-virus scam is well known on Windows computers, but it has only been in the past month that the same type of attack on Mac computers has reached the public consciousness. Mac security firm Intego was one of the first companies to detect the threat at the beginning of May.

Intego said of the malicious web sites at the time, "One thing to point out is that, in the past, these types of sites - very common vectors of Windows malware - only delivered Windows .exe applications."

"The fact that such a site is providing a Mac rogue antivirus is new, and extremely rare. While the site itself still shows a fake Windows screen, the rogue antivirus itself is a well-designed Mac application."

This could be a turning point for Apple, discovering that the increased penetration of the PC market by Macs and bigger market share makes its computer systems more attractive to criminals.

That's not to mention the arrogance and ignorance of some Mac users regarding security, which has not been helped by Apple's own stance on it. µ


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