Macs Infected by Ad-Injecting Malware
CREDIT: Apple/Sascha Burkard/Shutterstock.com
Apple is more popular now than it has ever been but success brings its own share of problems. Macs used to be the go-to virus-free platform, but that's not because it's any harder to develop antagonistic software for them. Rather, it's because more people used Windows. Now that the numbers are (slowly) shifting, Mac's OS X has attracted a few nasty Trojans.
The most recent of these harmful programs is actually far less obtrusive than most, but still probably not something you'd want on your machine. Trojan.Yontoo.1 is a Mac-centric piece of malware that plugs into Safari, Chrome or Firefox and starts displaying persistent ads. These ads cause no apparent harm beyond hogging system resources, but even if a user never clicks on them, they generate money for their unscrupulous creators.
The Trojan can spread in a variety of ways, but it usually involves asking users to install media player plug-ins to view video content on suspicious websites. After promising to install an app called "Free Twit Tube," Yontoo loads up instead and will display ads for dubious Apple accessories until the user scrubs his or her system clean.
The standard rules apply for keeping junk like Yontoo off your system: Watch video at reliable sites (a "Simpsons" clip on YouTube is trustworthy; a site from a country you've never heard of promising free episodes of "Game of Thrones" is probably not), and don't install software or plug-ins without verifying them first. If you don't know what a program does, taking a few seconds to look it up could save you a lot of headaches later on. [See also: The 10 Biggest Online Security Myths — And How to Avoid Them]
If you've been taken in by the Yontoo scheme, aside from having generated a few pennies for hackers, you have nothing to worry about. Any good malware sweep will recognize it as a standard adware plug-in and wipe it as such.
Simply displaying ads may not sound like a very ambitious plan when compared with malware that steals users' financial information or completely destroys their files, but it's a much more ingenious plan in the long run. Faced with the prospect of a malfunctioning computer or relatively unobtrusive ads, a user is far more likely to treat the first than the second.