Scareware

About those gangs of Russian hackers targeting Macs

September 27, 2009: 9:53 AM ET
MacCodec.com. Source: SophosLabs

MacCodec.com. Source: SophosLabs

"Hey Dimwitt here's a pcworld article about russian hackers targeting Macs. http://tiny.cc/dL4Yi."

I assume that message, sent via Twitter by "chalupatime" Saturday afternoon, was directed at me because I wrote something a few weeks ago called "Why are there no Mac viruses?"

My tortilla-loving friend is correct. There is indeed an article by Gregg Keizer in PC World (as well as in Computerworld) about Apple (AAPL) computers being targeted for malware.

Keizer's source is Graham Cluley, who quotes Paul Ducklin, who in turn offers a pointer to the source of all this chatter: a presentation at last week's Virus Bulletin conference in Geneva by Dmitry Samosseiko, a Russian-born researcher for Sophos, the U.K.-based security software vendor.

Samosseiko's paper, "The Partnerka -- what is it, and why should you care?," is available for free as a pdf. It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the hundreds of well-organized affiliate networks -- known in Russian as "partnerkas" -- that traffic, in Samosseiko's words, in "fake watches, fake anti-virus software, fake pills and fake love" for commissions that generate thousands of dollars a day for "webmasters" all around the world.

The six-page paper contains exactly one paragraph about the Mac:

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