Technology-Headlines

by George Heymann

Apple computer users faced with scareware threat

by A. Montaqim

Technology Market

The years of living comfortably would be over for Apple Mac users if a new piece of malware called Mac Defender had anything to do with it. The fake antivirus scareware attempts to dupe Mac owners into providing their credit card details in return for cleaning up the fake virus that it pretends to identify.

The warning about the malware – which also goes under the name of Mac Security and Mac Protector – was issued by Intego, a web security company, which coincidentally makes antivirus software for Mac. Intego claims that they are being contacted by a “huge number of customers who are worried about this fake anti-virus”.

Bloggers who have come across Mac Defender have said it looks like a well designed piece of software, which might convince some Mac users. Staff at Technology Market who use Macs have also encountered Mac Defender but quickly realized it was fake when they saw that the software was pretending to scanning for viruses and listed at least one file as having “.exe” suffix.

As a result, our staff member thought the malware maker’s attention to detail was nonexistent. Probably. And we decided not to tag the story with the word “malware”. You know why.

Nonetheless, Apple has reportedly been receiving a large number of calls from concerned Mac users and is instructing members of the company’s support to be aware of the issue. In a confidential document, cited by ZDNet’s Ed Bott, titled About Mac Defender Malware, Apple told its employees: “AppleCare does not provide support for removal of the malware. You should not confirm or deny whether the customer’s Mac is infected or not.”

The instruction may indicate Apple’s concern that any pretense of removing a virus that wasn’t even there in the first place will erode the Mac’s reputation as a well-defended machine. Many websites are reporting that Mac-specific threats are growing, but no-one so far has been able to confirm the existence of a virus on a Mac.

Seasoned Apple Mac users have long enjoyed the smugness that goes with owning and using a Mac because they know that their computers do not have to deal with the types of vicious malware that can ruin other non-Mac machines.

In fact – although this is not widely acknowledged – there have been no reported instances of any significant virus attack targeting Macs. Those of you who have worked in large companies, perhaps in media production departments, may have experience of being in situations where all of the company’s other computers have been down with a virus at some point or other – except yours, because your machine was a Mac.

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3 Responses

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