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Week in Geek: Turns Out, Mac OS X Has Viruses Too

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This week we learned how to make use of even more tools & techniques to remove image backgrounds in Photoshop, “add a PDF printer, hide Windows logins, & share a USB HDD”, network boot (PXE) an Ubuntu live CD, found out what your fellow readers felt about running an open Wi-Fi Network, enjoy the great geek deals available this week, and more.

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Photo by Ed Bott, ZDNet.

  • What a Mac malware attack looks like
    Ed Bott shows what an “in-the-wild” attack on Macs via a Google Image Search for “radioactive tsunami waves” looks like, what happened when duplicating the search on a Windows system, plus how Firefox and Chrome handled the download.
  • Fake “MAC Defender” antivirus app scams users for money, CC numbers
    Security firm Intego announced Monday that a fake antivirus program for Mac OS X has been discovered in the wild. While the threat potential remains low, inexperienced users could be fooled into paying to remove fake viruses “detected” by the software, and in the process, could end up giving credit card information to scammers.
  • Expert: Skype for Mac hole can be used in remote attack
    A security researcher said this past Friday that he found a serious hole in the Mac version of Skype that could be used by an attacker to remotely take control of someone else’s computer.
  • Trojan construction kit for Mac OS X – yours for $1,000
    According to security specialist Brian Krebs, in recent weeks a developer has been touting a trojan construction kit called Weyland-Yutani on underground forums; it enables criminals to construct malware for Mac OS X with just a few clicks.
  • Google Images search results may lead to malicious sites
    Postings by SANS Internet Storm Center and security specialist Brian Krebs describe how, in recent weeks, both have been receiving many reports that vulnerabilities in Google Images search are being exploited in order to load malicious software onto users’ systems.
  • Scammers exploit bin Laden news in search, Facebook
    Online scammers have been quick to capitalize on what will undoubtedly be one of the most significant news events this year: the death of Osama bin Laden.
  • Another 25 million Sony users compromised
    After apologising for the breach in security that saw 77 million user records compromised, Sony has announced that it has discovered 25 million user records were also compromised on Sony Online Entertainment’s systems.
  • LastPass CEO reveals details on security breach
    Following this past Thursday’s revelation of a likely security breach at password management company LastPass, the company’s CEO has revealed more details about the incident and tried to offer some comfort and advice to his users.
  • Hackers working on Safari-based app installer
    Not content with Apple’s App Store as a software distribution mechanism, a group of iOS developers is taking matters into its own hands by working on a tool to let iPhone users browse and install applications and system tweaks through Safari.
  • Mozilla fights DHS over anti-MPAA, RIAA utility
    No judge has ever declared a Firefox plug-in called MafiaaFire Redirector to be illegal. But that didn’t stop the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from trying to censor it from the Web.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 vs. BitDefender, Kaspersky, Symantec, AVG, Avira, McAfee
    Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 delivered a less than stellar performance in the latest round of testing from AV-Test. Despite being one of the products that was certified by the German antivirus testing firm, MSE 2.0 barely did so, with one of the lowest scores among the security products tested.
  • Is Mono dead? Is Novell dying?
    While Attachmate will be keeping SUSE Linux as a spin-off company, Mono, the open-source implementation of Windows’ .NET, is being shut down and there have been hundreds of additional Novell layoffs.
  • China sets up new office to tighten Net control
    China has set up a new agency to further regulate the country’s vast cyberspace, in a move defended by a Chinese official who says most governments also regulate similar unsavory Internet content.
  • Google help wanted: Antitrust lawyer
    It’s the confluence of two phenomena: Google is on a hiring binge and the company is increasingly under regulators’ antitrust microscope. So the search giant is looking to hire a new antitrust lawyer.
  • Lawsuit accuses Apple, others of fixing worker pay
    A new California lawsuit accuses Apple, Google, Adobe Systems, Intel, and other tech companies of violating antitrust laws by allegedly conspiring to fix employee pay, as well as working out “no solicitation” deals with one another.

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Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 05/8/11

Comments (19)

  1. GPLv4

    Only linux is safe. MacOS’s is the most insecure, even worse than M$ Windows.

  2. stableos

    That’s not a virus, it is a trojan. You can’t protect any platform if you successfully use social engineering on the user. Poor wording on the headline.

  3. Leonick

    What I am still wondering is, what does the fake antivirus do once installed? Haven’t seen anything about that yet… Does it even do anything harmful? :p

  4. macsara

    Your title is a bit of a misnomer. If you read all that, you know that the Mac attacks basically consist of a phishing scheme that most Mac users won’t fall for; and if they do, they’re introducing malware to their computer. If people don’t know by now that clicking on and installing random things on their computers, whether they are on a Mac or a PC, is dangerous, then they deserve the malware.

    To GPLv4: The Mac OS is based on Unix. Yes, based on, so not perfect, but definitely safer than Windows by a long shot.

  5. nt0xik8ed

    that figures, a mac trojan kit is $1,000 and windows is only $500. windows FTW!

  6. EarthRat

    The part that anyone saying this OS is more susceptible than that OS truly does not understand the facts! The reason Windows appears to be more susceptible to attack is not that it is less secure but rather it is the most popular OS. Hence why it is targeted more and has more variants ect. Anyone who claims Linux is secure or even that is is more secure is a blind ignorant moron who absolutely has no clue!

  7. manuxos

    @EarthRat :
    You are so wrong.
    YOU don’t have a clue about what you’re talking about. Have you ever used Linux and understood how it actually works ?

  8. Hatryst

    Yes, that’s not a virus.
    Windows users might get caught in this fake AV scam because they know viruses are everywhere.
    Mac users can’t, because they know they can’t be ‘easily’ affected by viruses :)

  9. durr

    Woho Sherlock, wut’s dat? Mac has virus … come on what is wrong with you people, every system has them, get a freaking brain

  10. ichido ['}

    Been running GNU/Linux Distros for almost 9 years With Out AV Software and I NEVER got any Malware problems or infections like Virus, Trojan, Worm, Spyware, Key-logger, etc!
    Distros use – Linspire, Mint, Ubuntu, Puppy just to name a few!
    Running 2 laptops and a desktop with Ubuntu 10.04.
    ichido [‘}

  11. A

    @Hatryst your logic is flawed. Mac users would be more likely to be caught by a scam, virus, etc. than a Windows user because Mac users are over confident that they can’t be affected by viruses.

  12. Ivydapple


    There are a ton that do harm your computer, badly. Some wipe your C: drive clean so you have to reinstall Windows.

  13. durr


    Thank god that you have brain and claim by stating that you never got hacked that linux is secure

  14. T0nz

    @Hatryst, thanks for your comment. I will let the user who introduced a virus into our Mac graphics lab last month that it wasn’t his fault because he is a Mac user and “can’t” introduce a virus because as a Mac user he “can’t” be easily affected by that same virus that took them down for hours.

    Am I missing something here?

  15. Cirric

    To Leonick. When a novice tries to download the “Repair” program it asks for all of your information including credit card info. I suspect that is what the “fake” program writers are really after.

  16. Leonick

    I know what malware is, i was wondering what this specific one that media has been making such a fuss about actually did…

    Ah, so, basically this malware everyone is writing about is just about as bad (even less so as you have to install) than all the “CONGRATULATIONS! You have won a car! Now just give us your email and credit card information so we can hand it over to you!” Ads that the average persons browser should be loading on at least one page during a day of websurfing :p

  17. JRC


    Only linux is safe. MacOS’s is the most insecure, even worse than M$ Windows.”

    Really? Really, REALLY? Either you’re just a Linux fanboy who has no clue what he’s talking about, or you’re just a troll wanting to piss off Mac users. First of all, I love Linux, my daughter has Ubuntu 11 on here laptop and I use an Android phone which of course is based on Linux. But to say that Mac OS is more vulnerable then windows just makes you look like ignorant. And the title of this article is factually misleading, technically Mac Defender is a trojan not a virus. It actually requires that the user install it (with admin password) in order for it to work. Because on it’s own it can do nothing, unlike a virus in windows which requires NO user interaction in order to infect your LAME windows machine. So, to the author here, get your terminology right before you start making statements like “Viruses do exist for Mac” when that simply isn’t true.

  18. PKTIO

    SO who,s saying the truth and who’s lying

  19. Ivydapple

    @JRC Well, I wouldn’t call my PC that hasn’t crashed once or gotten a single virus in almost two years “lame”. :3

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