Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

Summary: Apple will deliver a Mac OS X update "in coming days" that will put its Mac Defender malware headaches to rest

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Apple said Tuesday that it will deliver a Mac OS X update "in coming days" that will put its Mac Defender malware headaches to rest.

As noted repeatedly by Ed Bott, Apple has had its head in the sand about its Mac Defender malware issue. In a May 24, knowledge base article Apple said:

A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender "anti-virus" software to solve the issue.

This “anti-virus” software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes.

The most common names for this malware are MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity.

In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware.

For now there's a step by step workaround to manually remove the malware.

What took so long? Apple has historically hung its hat on being a malware free environment. The issue with that positioning is that Apple is a bigger part of the computing landscape. The more market share you have the larger a target you are for hackers.

Here's the Apple saga:

Topics: Malware, Apple, Hardware, Security

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209 comments
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  • Good for Apple.

    They got their heads out of the sand and acknowledged a serious issue. Will certain ZDnet posters follow their example?
    Lester Young
    • Like who?

      Ed Bott?
      ego.sum.stig
      • LOL... exactly.. LOL..

        @ego.sum.stig@...
        doctorSpoc
      • The only issue here is some people believing that they have got a "virus"

        @ego.sum.stig@...

        <b>The only issue here is some people believing in the screen message that they have got a "virus" while there is/was no even a single case of virus spreading in the wild in all 27 year long history of Macintosh.</b>

        If you are not "stupid", then nothing happens with this malware.

        And you have to be "stupid" twice to enter banking card data. Otherwise there is no harm in this situation even if you was "stupid" enough to install this "MacDefender".
        DDERSSS
      • Not a single virus on Mac ... ever!

        @denisrs

        Read:
        http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2010/11/24/apple-mac-malware-short-history/

        I was helping to remove these viruses that "did not exist" in early 1990's. Ignorance is bliss, I know. Sorry to make you a little less happy.

        Disclaimer: I've been using Apple (IIe, IIc - since 1982) and Macs (as preferred platform from 1984 - 2003). I even was a big fan of NeXT, another Steve Jobs creation. I like Apple products but increasingly dislike Apple, the company, for oh so many reasons. In part because one of their most valuable assets is the image and supposed "zen" of Apple, which they protect in deplorable ways, leaving the users stranded rather than admit flaws in the Apple seemingly perfect universe. Apple may not have created MacDefender, but sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "la la la, I can't hear you" is pathetic. I'm no Ed Bott fan, but there is nothing he should recant. Microsoft fesses up, Google fesses up, Apple did before SJ came back. It's the right thing to do.
        Mr. Copro Encephalic to You
      • Apple fans = cult fan

        @ego.sum.stig@... I have been a Apple Mac user since OS9. Not everyone I know is bright enough to avoid the fake AV. I have cleaned many PC's and Mac's of annoying stuff. Many Mac users bindly believe they are safe because they claim to be smarter or simply drink too much Apple juice. Not even really knowing if they infected with anything because they don't even use a AV program. But that's OK because Steve will protect them. Yea, right.
        jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • He already has......

        @ego.sum.stig@.......acknowledged Mac malware as a serious issue. He did before Apple did. So simple logic (ergo) makes it impossible for Ed to "follow" Apple on this issue.
        Lester Young
      • @jscott418

        However, not many people go to the frenzied length Ed has in decrying what isn't that big a deal. The world will not end, people will get on with their lives. If a piece of malware was death to a company, then there wouldn't be any OS vendors out there.

        That and his whole thesis and support for it is pretty much bankrupt from the get go. No company lets any of its people present anything but the company line/solution until they come up with a solution/position etc.
        ego.sum.stig
      • RE: Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

        @denisrs This is true. The same thing happens to people on the PC all the time.
        Bucky24
      • RE: Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

        @ego.sum.stig@... You could fix malware yourself if you had some basic tech smarts. Why is everyone waiting for Apple to come out with an update. I get rid of Malware on my pc easily.
        djnextgen
      • Did you really read? If so, did you really comprehend?

        @Mr. Copro Encephalic to You: I said exactly "spreading in the wild".

        <b>Not a single virus epidemic was registered for Macintoshes, ever.</b>
        DDERSSS
      • @denisrs

        I suspect, then, that you may have a unique interpretation of "spreading in the wild". Most security researchers deem that to mean people in the real world were infected. Which they were. On macs. What do you mean by that?
        Mr. Copro Encephalic to You
      • @djnextgen

        Getting rid of malware (of whatever type) can range from the trivial to the level of effort that might result in a loss of sanity, being driven to drink (hmmm, self-reflective moment), on to a consideration that something has to die and you're not fussy what/who.

        A sweeping statement that it takes "some basic tech smarts" that is not actually useful in too many cases to make it a useful sweeping statement. As a case in point, I'd "stake my reputation on it" (Sorry Dietrich T. Schmitz :P) that all too many of the folk who blog or post on zdnet wouldn't be able to distinguish between a hamster, an attack vector or a pint of beer.
        ego.sum.stig
    • Message has been deleted.

      His_Shadow
      • RE: Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

        @His_Shadow I swear it's like a cult. This wasn't rocket science and Apple didn't need weeks to detect a single piece of malware. Your "Apple cares" theory doesn't address why they specifically told their support people not to help people remove the malware, tell them about the malware, direct them to anti-malware software, etc.

        This was antenna-gate all over again where Apple only acted in the face of negative publicity.
        jgm@...
      • Message has been deleted.

        jaypeg
      • RE: Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

        @His_Shadow Brainwashed much? Whether or not you like it this is simply the tip of the iceberg with malware on Macs - sure they got this one but this one was fairly simplistic and geared towards users who are not as savvy. It also proved that Mac OSX is indeed vulnerable - as if PWN2OWN did nto make that clear already.

        As for the Lodsys issue - which is not the topic of this post BTW - I hope Lodsys tries to do something. Apple has pretty much told them that they can try to sue those devs but it will be Apple they will be facing in the courtroom. So you need to work out the kinks in your frilly pink bloomers there Nancy and stop taking this so personally.
        athynz
      • RE: There's a growing amount of Apple envy and jealousy

        @jaypeg

        Envy and Jealousy have nothing to do it it and don't try to boost your own ego by thinking people are jealous of you or any other Apple product user. You are mighty arrogant to think so.

        While Ed probably went overboard with so many blogs on this Malware subject I think (or hope) his intent was to try and beat the message in that this Malware was a serious threat and if people were not aware of it it could harm a great many people if nothing was done about it. Apple appears to be doing something about it which is good but you have to admit some of the evidence showed that Apple might be trying to dismiss this.

        You are never going to stop the PEBCAK errors and it could come to a point one day that Apple may not be able to patch all malware that comes out for MacOS which is why we have to attempt to educate people so they can see the signs of Malware as they are the first and last defense of computer security. They are also the weakest link in computer security.

        I say this as an owner of Apple products like my two iPhones and Macbook but as a person that prefers to use Windows. Having use Macs in High School and College as a graphic design major I am in no way jealous or envious of what another person chooses to use for their technology. Anyone that uses the gadgets and computer systems other people use to make themselves jealous really needs to do something about their self esteem issues. And anyone that automatically thinks other people are jealous of them because of those gadgets or computers they use needs to have a reality check.
        bobiroc
      • RE: Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

        @jaypeg (this is for jaypeg) " The loyalty of its customers. They thought Microsoft would have killed off Apple and its supporters long, long ago."

        Ironically, it actually WOULD have happened, had it not been for anti-trust lawsuits.. so don't get your self-rightous panties in a wad over it all. So Apple has bloated stocks and sells overpriced hardware to idiotic consumers who "think" they know computers because they "found" Pandora. It does prove that it doesn't matter the price, gullible people will pay for just about anything that is apparently "white". IPAD now available in white? wow.
        reclaim25
      • RE: Apple Mac OS X update to put Mac Defender malware issue to bed

        [i]While Ed probably went overboard with so many blogs on this Malware subject...[/i]

        Ed went "overboard"?? How so? Tell us why you say that.

        [i]Apple appears to be doing something about it which is good but you have to admit some of the evidence showed that Apple might be trying to dismiss this.[/i]

        You have no proof of that. They just didn't go into panic mode like you've done for the past week.

        Maybe it's you that's gone overboard, don't-cha think?

        [i]and it could come to a point one day that Apple may not be able to patch all malware that comes out for MacOS[/i]

        Speculation.

        [i]I say this as an owner of Apple products like my two iPhones and Macbook[/i]

        So you say.

        [i]Having use Macs in High School and College as a graphic design major I am in no way jealous or envious of what another person chooses to use for their technology.[/i]

        So you say. Again.

        [i]Anyone that uses the gadgets and computer systems other people use to make themselves jealous really needs to do something about their self esteem issues.[/i]

        I doubt that. If the shoe fits...

        [i]And anyone that automatically thinks other people are jealous of them because of those gadgets or computers they use needs to have a reality check.[/i]

        Then why are you being so defensive? Are you jealous?
        ScorpioBlue