Apple to Address Mac Defender Malware with Mac OS X Software Update
Apple just posted a support document entitled “How to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware” promising a Mac OS X software update in the “coming days” that will automatically detect and remove the malicious software.
In the document, the company explains 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”. Users are then prompted to install “Mac Defender anti-virus” software, which in return installs malware capable of obtaining the user’s credit card data. Apple notes the software is often disguised under pseudonyms including “MacSecurity” and “MacProtector”.
The support document also includes step-by-step instructions for both manually avoiding and removing the malware until the update is rolled out. Removing it consists of simply quitting the application’s processes in Activity Monitor, deleting the app like any other, and removing a login item the app created upon installation. If the malware is not yet installed on your system, you can avoid it by simply not installing the security software described above.
Apple currently doesn’t recommend any anti-malware tool, but also doesn’t flat out recommend not using any security software either. For us long time Mac users that have never used anti-virus software, and have never had an issue, we can laugh at the irony of users being infected by malware disguised as anti-malware software for an OS that seems to never have these issues otherwise. It seems like the best way to avoid viruses and malicious software on Mac OS X these days is to avoid installing the anti-virus and anti-malware software that’s supposed to protect you in the first place.
If you need full instructions for removing Mac Defender, head over to the How to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware Apple support page.
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