Mac Malware: Threat Or Hype? And Where’s Apple?

Over the last little bit there’s been a lot of news about a new attack against Macs called “Mac Defender.” It relies on you the Mac user to install it so that it can do it’s evil deeds, which is to pay for virus protection that you don’t need. So this is not a virus, as it can not install itself or spread on its own. Instead, it relies upon fooling non-technical users into installing the malware through Mac OS X’s security authentication barrier, and additionally attempts to get users to supply their credit card information. Other than that, it is (for now) harmless. But it is a sign of things to come as the next attack of this sort may do the sort of things that Windows users are used to seeing.

So is this a threat? Yes. Contrary to what Steve Jobs and his merry band of Apple Fanbois are telling the world, the Mac isn’t immune to attacks of any sort. Clearly they know this because Apple are dodging any sort of request for help from users who fell prey to this. That’s bad because the people who create stuff like this focus their attention on the Mac, these attacks are going to get more and more dangerous. The fact that at the moment this is more of a nuisance is irrelevant.

So what do you do? In the absence of Apple doing the responsible thing and stepping up to the plate, it’s best to protect yourself now. I’ve been using the free Sophos anti virus for Mac application for a while now. I’d recommend that you take a look at it as it’s a great way to protect yourself. Is it the only thing you need? No. You still need to exercise some judgement and common sense when surfing the net. No anti virus app will replace that.

In the meantime, Apple needs to turn off the reality distortion field and do the right thing. They need to help users to protect themselves as well as help those who have been hit by this. Parallel to that, they also need to make sure that their OS is secure. After all, look how much mileage Microsoft has gotten by coming out with their own anti virus application as well as trying to make their OS is as secure as possible.

Perhaps Apple should take a page out of their playbook?

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