Apple users hit by world's first Mac OS X virus

The Mac malware threat is real, say security experts

The Mac malware threat is real, say security experts

The first virus to target Apple's Mac OS X operating system has been discovered in the wild, according to security experts.

The virus, called Leap.A, was discovered by UK antivirus company Sophos and spreads via the iChat instant messaging system. It forwards itself as a file called latestpics.tgz to contacts on the infected users' buddy list.

The virus appears to have spread after members of a Mac user forum were tricked into clicking on the file, which was posted as an external link promising screenshots of the Leopard Mac OS X 10.5.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, called this the first "real virus" for the Mac OS X platform.

He said in a statement: "Some owners of Mac computers have held the belief that Mac OS X is incapable of harbouring computer viruses but Leap.A will leave them shell-shocked, as it shows that the malware threat on Mac OS X is real."