MAC Defender

Is Mac under a virus attack?

May 4, 2011: 10:44 AM ET

No. But there's some bad news rising on the Apple malware front

Bogus MAC Defender virus scan. Source: Intego

Let's see if we can handle this one as a Q&A.

Q: Is there a Mac OS X virus loose on the Internet? Technically, no. As far as I know, no Mac OS X virus has ever been detected in the wild. But there are other kinds of Mac malware out there that you should know about.

Q: Like what? The immediate concern, ironically, is a bogus antivirus program called "MAC Defender" that targets Mac OS X users running Safari.

Q: What does MAC Defender do? According to a memo released Monday by the computer security site Intego: 1) It runs a fake Windows virus scan animation and announces that your computer is infected. 2) It runs a real Mac installation program and asks for your administrator password. 3) Once installed, it makes your computer act like it really is infected, opening offensive websites and generally misbehaving. 4) It offers you 1-year, 2-year or lifetime protection. 5) If you buy the protection, it steals your credit card number.

Q: Is this the start of the long-awaited Macpocalypse? No, but someone has started selling a $1,000 crimekit that could produce a new wave of malware targeting Apple (AAPL) computers.

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