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May 24th, 2011

Malware Threatens MacsA new malware program is targeting Mac computers. According to an Apple call center employee, it has pushed call volume up “4-5x higher than normal” recently. Although still more secure than Windows 7, which is more secure than XP or Vista, Macs are not immune. You must intervene to protect your PCs and Macs, just like CRE does with all its computer rentals.

An offensive “defender”

The malware – known variously as Mac Defender, Mac Security and Mac Protector – appears in Safari, the Mac’s default browser on everything from the latest iMac rentals to laptops, iPads and iPods. After you click an infected Google search result, the malware announces itself as an anti-virus program and downloads in several ways, but cannot be installed without an administrator password. If Safari is set to open “safe” files automatically, you will see the malware install “automatically,” too.

If you enter your password, the malware installs into your Applications folder, adds itself to your log-in (startup) items and begins running. The malware installs a menu bar item, but there’s no Dock icon and no way to quit/exit. The malware will say your Mac is infected and advise you to buy a subscription to fix it. If you don’t, the malware begins opening random porn Web sites.

Multiple solutions

Every Mac user should know what a recent CRE blog called the “sanity saving basics” of troubleshooting, as well as malware defense. Updated with the latest virus definitions, Norton Anti-Virus, VirusBarrier X5, MacScan and similar programs can find and remove malware quickly. Get a fully operational, 30-day MacScan demo if you need it and use the “Check for updates” command to add the latest virus definitions.

To remove the malware manually, power users can use the Mac Terminal as described here. For a simpler manual method, follow these steps:

  • Open Activity Monitor (Utilities). Set drop-down menu to “All Processes.”
  • Enter “MacDefender” in the Search field.
  • Click on the MacDefender process, then “Quit Process” and finally “Force Quit.”
  • Drag MacDefender icon from Applications to Trash. Empty Trash.
  • Remove MacDefender from log-in items in Accounts (System Preferences).

Avoid problems

  • Learn to browse safely, and be extra careful with search results. Trust your intuition – if a site seems fishy, leave.
  • Don’t download indiscriminately. If files start downloading or installers pop up, don’t install anything without proper investigation.
  • The same OS X security features on our powerful Mac Pro rentals are on every Mac. Use them all, from the Firewall and Sharing preferences to network settings and strong passwords.
  • Install some well-rated security software, and keep the definitions database updated.

We mean to empower you, with our blogs as well as high-tech render farm rentals and other technology. A call or e-mail puts an experienced Account Executive on the job for you, and our Quick Rental Quote form enables you to accelerate the process even more. It’s not really equipment we deal in – it’s solutions. Get yours here!

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