CACR: MacDefender shows Apple users no longer immune from cyberattacks

May 25, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Long considered the shining example of computer security, Apple Macintosh computers are becoming serious targets of cyberattacks, according to Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research Deputy Director Von Welch.

Mac users have recently been targeted by, and are increasingly falling victim to, a fake called "MacDefender," which poses as an program that tricks users into installing it.

"MacDefender" is a type of known as scareware, because it uses fear to induce people into installing the software. Mac users may be browsing the Internet when a pop-up window appears that looks exactly like it's from your computer's own operating system. This pop-up window alerts users that their machine is infected and offers to scan for other viruses. The scan will report that it has found other viruses, and offers to clean the computer after the victim either registers the software or enters their .

"It's not an out-of-control problem yet, but it's definitely a wake-up call and probably a sign of more things to come," Welch said. "For years, Mac users have enjoyed a relative freedom from viruses and other malware that have plagued Microsoft Windows users. The question that hung in the air was, 'Is this because Macs are more secure or because criminals just weren't interested in them because there are far more Windows users?' We may now be starting to see that question answered."

Welch offered the following tips for Mac users:

  • If you hadn't planned on installing software when browsing the Internet, don't.
  • If you've previously installed antivirus software, run it directly. Welch notes that many schools -- including IU -- and businesses offer antivirus software at no cost to users.
  • Always go to trusted sources for buying antivirus software or anything else online. For example, do a search and see what others have said about buying from the site.

Explore further: Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

More information: For tips on this, and other online security and privacy issues, visit the Security Matters website at: www.securitymatters.iu.edu .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft to Offer Free Antivirus Protection

Jun 11, 2009

Microsoft is gearing up to offer Windows users a free real-time antivirus protection. Code name Morro, the antivirus product will be a hosted service. Morro works by routing all users Internet traffic to a ...

Google Announces the Google Pack

Jan 08, 2006

Google announced the Google Pack beta, a free collection of useful software from Google and other companies that improves the user experience online and on the desktop. In just a few clicks, users can install ...

Glitch in antivirus software troubles PC users

Jul 10, 2009

(AP) -- Antivirus software cuts two ways. It's great at blocking known viruses, but it can sometimes misfire, mistakenly flagging clean files as malicious. That sends a computer into a tailspin trying to clean up stuff that's ...

No foolproof way to beat virus attack for now

Aug 17, 2005

Microsoft continues to be the prime target for those intent on wrecking havoc in cyberspace, but for now the software giant argues that only it can save users from computer-virus attacks.

Recommended for you

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Apr 18, 2014

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...