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Apple working on Mac OS X update to combat 'Mac Defender' malware

May 25, 2011 |  2:14 pm


Apple is working on a software update to its Mac OS X operating system to combat a malware going around known as Mac Defender.

"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," Apple said in a statement on its support website. "The user is then offered Mac Defender 'anti-virus' software to solve the issue."

But Mac Defender isn't anti-virus software, it's malicious software, Apple said.

"Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes," the Cupertino tech titan said. "The most common names for this malware are MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity."

Apple said it will release a Mac OS X update in a few days "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."

In the meantime, the Mac OS X support page instructs Mac owners to force quit their web browser if notifications about viruses or security programs pop-up.

"In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software," Apple said. "If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password. Delete the installer" and empty it from the Mac's Trash bin.


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Photo: A person types on a MacBook Pro laptop at an Apple Store in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images