Apple's 'Mac Defender' update allows users to run known malware

Summary:Apple has now released a security update for Mac OS X 'Snow Leopard' users to protect them from 'Mac Defender' and associated variants. Problem over, right?Wrong!

Apple has now released a security update for Mac OS X 'Snow Leopard' users to protect them from 'Mac Defender' and associated variants. Problem over, right?

Wrong!

First off, this update only applies to Mac OS X 10.6.7. If you're running an earlier version of Snow Leopard then you need to make sure you download the updates. However, if you're running an older version of Mac OS X then you're outta luck unless you hand over dollars to Apple for an upgrade. This is a pretty big problem as the install base for users not running the latest version of Mac OS X is pretty significant. According to NetMarketShare data for April 2011, while the usage share for Mac OS X 10.6 is 3.65% (the breakdown of this into 10.6.x versions is not given), Mac OS X 10.5 still has a usage share of 1.3%, while Mac OS X 10.4 has a usage share of 0.37%.

Even of the visitors to Hardware 2.0, some 20% of Mac users are running Mac OS X 10.5 or lower.

That sucks.

Secondly, Apple's update offers mediocre protection at best, and goes as far as allowing users to install known malware onto their systems.

Open???? Seriously? 'Open' is an option for a file that 'will damage your computer.' Also, 'Move to Trash' ... again, is this for real? How about a 'nuke it from orbit' option instead?

Crazy stuff!

Finally, Mac Defender's gone viral on Facebook, which is very bad news.

Bottom line, Apple users can't rely on Apple to protect them. Instead they should download and install a third-party malware scanner.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Malware, Security

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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