New Malware Goes After Mac Users
|Photo composite by SecurityNewsDaily|
Mac users have typically been less vulnerable to dangerous computer viruses and online attacks, but that trend seems to be quickly changing.
A new malware campaign is targeting Mac OS X users, trying to convince them their computer is infected with a virus, then trick them into downloading a corrupted version of the popular MacDefender antivirus software, The Next Web reports.
The new malware targets victims of Apple's Safari Web browser via rigged Google Images; when users click on the infected pictures, the bogus MacDefender program automatically downloads onto their systems. Once downloaded, the rogue antivirus software asks victims to pay for protection they don't need.
Luckily for users, this scareware scam goes after only their insecurities; it doesn't actually infect systems with any damaging viruses that will steal sensitive information.
To stay safe and prevent Safari from automatically downloading the fake MacDefender software, The Next Web says, Safari users are advised to select "Preferences," then "General," then uncheck "Open 'safe' files after downloading."
To stop the app from running if it's already in use, check "Activity Monitor" under the "Applications" tab, and "disable anything that relates to MacDefender."
Malware makers largely have spared Macs while concentrating on attacking bigger sellers, but this isn't the only Mac-specific scam on the loose right now.
Ed Bott of the security website ZDNet has spotted a "fully operational kit specifically designed to build malware aimed at the Mac OS platform."
The kit, available on underground malware markets, is called "Weyland-Yutani BOT," according to the Danish information technology firm CSIS Security Group.
Researcher Brian Krebs spoke with the maker of Weyland-Yutani BOT, who told Krebs he designed the exploit kit to target Mac users running the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers.
The malware targeting Mac users could have widespread and damaging implications, Bott explained. And with malware coming from all angles -- Safari, Chrome and Firefox -- Mac users are threatened whichever way they go.
"Only a tiny percentage of Macs run antivirus software,” Bott said, “and Mac users have been conditioned to believe they're immune from Internet threats. That's a deadly combination."
Matt Liebowitz is a staff writer for SecurityNewsDaily, a sister site of TechNewsDaily.