Apple Plans Update to Address MacDefender Malware

Apple is planning to release an update specifically designed to protect users against the MacDefender malware that has been circulating for the last couple of weeks. The update for Mac OS X will automatically find and remove the malware on an infected machine and also will warn users if another infection attempt is detected.

Apple updateApple is planning to release an update specifically designed to protect users against the MacDefender malware that has been circulating for the last couple of weeks. The update for Mac OS X will automatically find and remove the malware on an infected machine and also will warn users if another infection attempt is detected.

The planned update from Apple is a rare move by the company, whose users until quite recently haven’t had to contend with much of a malware problem. The MacDefender scareware attack emerged in early May and is being used by attackers to trick users into downloading and installing a malicious application. Like other scareware attacks, MacDefender tells users that they have a piece of malware on their machine and they need to install MacDefender to help remedy the problem.

Of course, the download is malware itself and has the aim of stealing users’ credit card information. Apple is telling concerned users that if they notice an infection attempt, they should try to close their browser or even force quit the application and then delete the installer.

“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,” Apple said in its advisory on the MacDefender 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.

“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.”

The good news is that the MacDefender malware is not particularly
difficult to uninstall and doesn’t remain persistent on the machine
after you attempt to delete, as some Windows-based malware will. Here are the steps that Apple recommends for users who have been infected by MacDefender:

  • Move or close the Scan Window
  • Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor  
  • Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
  • Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and
    click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity
    or MacProtector
  • Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
  • Quit Activity Monitor application
  • Open the Applications folder
  • Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
  • Drag to Trash, and empty Trash

Apple said that the MacDefender attack is exploiting machines running OS X 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6. The company did not specify when the update will be available, but said that it will be delivered through the Software Update mechanism or the Support Downloads Web site.

In addition to the emergence of MacDefender, May saw the release of a Mac crimeware kit that is designed to help attackers build attack tools specifically for OS X.

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  • Anonymous on

    Gosh, this simply isn't possible.  Everyone knows Macs are invulnerable.   ;-)

  • Anonymous on

    ... and the Windows fans had massive LULZ everywhere. ... maybe apple isnt as secure as was thought to be.. or rather.. apple fanbois aren't as smart as thought to be. Guess that $4000 system can be turned into a slow pile of junk now too huh.
  • LifeSizeActionFigure on

    I love all the cynicism coming from the non-mac user camp.  If these people would read the details of how this mac defender malware gets on the computer in the first place they would realize it has more to do with the user than with the computer itself.  The software can not get on the system by itself.  It has to dupe an ill-informed user into providing their administrator password in order to be installed.  On Windows XP and Windows 7 computers where the UAC is turned off, this kind of malware could more easily get on the machine using a variety of exploits without any user interaction.  The fact that the software was targeted at Mac OS X does not mean that Macs are any less safe than they have always been.

  • Anonymous on

    Ever notice that when a Mac virus comes out, it makes headlines? That's because it's rare. Ever notice that when a Windows virus comes out, no one notices? There's already 750,000. What's one more?
  • Anonymous on

    I think is't funny I know some mac users that  arogant and think they will never have to worry about attacks those are the ones that will be hit the hardest. 

    The beggining of the end is near. go to they sell good anti malware products for mac. Of couse the main thing even on windows is don't fall for the click her we can fix your computer. 

  • Anonymous on

    Macs are no less/more vulnerable than PCs. There simply aren't as many people using them. When someone writes a virus, malware, spyware, etc. the goal is for it to spread and effect as many computers as possible. That can't happen if they're only targetting the minority. Macs don't have fewer problems because the OS is better, they have fewer problems simply because far less crap is being written to screw them up (that goes for regular applications too, not just malware... fewer apps, fewer chances at crashes at the hands of someone's buggy code).

  • Anonymous on

    Uh, actually Macs are much less vulnerable than PCs due to the nature of the core of the OS.  PC's use Windows which has had many security issues over the years because Windows was built on top of DOS, which had no security.  In contrast, the current Mac OS, OS 10.X is based on UNIX, which had security built into it from the start.

    Also, I would argue that the Mac OS is better because it was built on top of Unix kernal.  But Windows still has some shortcomings as it has had a long time to evolve from DOS to where it is today.  Windows 7 was probably the first Windows I really found to be stable.

    Anyway, I have 2 laptops running Windows 7 and XP, a desktop running Windows XP, and a Mac Pro running Snow Leopard.

    The Mac boots faster, never gets viruses, and almost never crashes.  While the Windows machines, even the XP desktop which is a gaming machine with a 2.4 Dual core processor takes so long to boot, I can go get a cup of coffee and make toast.  

    But my Mac Pro is up in maybe 10 seconds or less.

  • Anonymous on

    ...Kernel. This renders your argument invalid.

  • DJ Particle on

    Another Mac *trojan*, which requires a PEBCAK to run.  Yawn.  I'm not worried.

    I have yet to see a MacOS X *worm*.

  • Anonymous on






  • Anonymous on

    It's sad to see how people are working so hard to create malaware and viruses for OSX.  Why ruin something good?  Lets live in harmony!

  • Anonymous on

    If you are stupid enough to install this your an IDIOT to being with.


  • Mythbuster on

    Sorry, I thought the post I was replying to would be identified in some way.  It was: "Macs are no less/more vulnerable than PCs. There simply aren't as many people using them. When someone writes a virus, malware, spyware, etc. the goal is for it to spread and effect as many computers as possible..."

  • Anonymous on

    Yes it is very very impossible to get a virus on Linux/Unix and even mac os x.


    Again these malware are a joke!!!


    I can infect my machine and kill the parent and poof they are gone. Good luck on windows doing that.


    So again .. you should not be using something so powerful if you an IDIOT.


  • Anonymous on

    It still requires a user to install it however, even if the "open safe files after downloading" option is checked, you still have to install it yourself. Don't install it and you are fine.

  • Stonington III on

    Wow, I had no idea there was all this hatred between PC and Mac users, well at least not to this level.

    So what do I do now, I have BOTH a PC and a Mac, this is now a great dilemma for me, do I smash my Mac or my PC…? Hummm, I will admit that late at night from time to time I have heard rumblings going on in the computer room and then seen my PC poking the Mac and the Mac defending itself but they never actually stuck there power cords out at each other – well not to my knowledge anyway. This may explain how one or the other becomes unplugged every now and again for no reason

    Goodness, what to do what to do?  It may be best if I draw a line between them and secure each to the desk with a screw or nail so they can’t actually get over to the other and then “go at it” that would be a mess.

    I can see mice flying and scanner parts flipping around with monitors being pealed like bananas what horror is this?    Huh, or should I just get uniforms for each of them, Mac in Blue and PC in Red or vice versa, which is it now….? I could give them each a hand gun and set them 20 paces apart before I go to bed and the next morning I’ll see who the winner is but either way it’ll be expensive  

    No wonder I have a tough time getting them to talk to each other, gee wiz that explains a lot.   Well thanks for the lesson in diplomacy between computer adversaries I learned a lot here and will put it to use the next time I visit the town landfill / re-cycling station.

    Thanks, I appreciate it…, I think.   :/    

    (man o man, I won't be downloading anything from anyone ever again, wow, this world is just not safe any longer, usta be I could walk in the park you know,  but not today - blah - blah -blah)

    oh boy, here we go again - another Mac-PC feud brewing folks, sit back and enjoy it or jump in and take a beating.

  • Anonymous on

    In response to the following post by Sarcastro:

    "Point of order, OS X is built on top of the Apple XNU kernal which hybrids the MACH 3.0 microkernal and the 4.3BSD monolithic kernal and adds Apple's C++ IO/Kit APIs.

    Uh, What are you talking about?  Yes, maybe part of the Kernal is not Unix and previous Mac OS's were not UNIX based.  But now, today the majority of OS X is unix based.

    OS X is POSIX compliant and has a lot of BSD code.  POSIX is Unix, bud.  BSD is Unix.
    Drop to the command line and poke around.  Its not much different than being on Solaris or HP-UX.  Dude, OS X even has a /etc directory, man pages, ls to list files.  Even cron is installed on OS X.  OS X even has bash, c shell, ksh, and good old sh!!!
    Plus you use chown and chmod to control file permissions and ownership.  For God's sake man, even the "top" command works on OS X!
    I've been using unix for almost 20 years, and Mac OS X IS Unix.  Quickly now, go to the nearest university and go for a computer science degree before its too late.

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