Recent reports indicate a massive malware outbreak underway on Apple’s Mac OS platform.
The long standing party line “Macs don’t get viruses” is finally being proven wrong, on a sizable scale. Those users who believe that the Mac OS is impenetrable, incorruptible and invincible are in for a rather severe surprise. An Apple Care Executive (ACE) claiming that not only is malware a problem on Macs it is also increasing from day to day and moment by moment. According to an unnamed ACE we were able to confirm what security companies have been shouting in vain for years: malware for Mac’s OS has arrived, and people need to be adjusted and ready to deal with it. Still most people think Mac users have nothing to worry about when it comes to malware, and this has been true for many years. However, now things are changing. A malicious app called MAC Defender is infecting more Mac users than ever before. An ACE said that “more and more people” are falling for the MAC Defender attack.
This ACE confirmed that the company was getting a large amount of calls regarding a Mac malware called “Mac Defender.” One ACE representative reports that call volumes are 4 to 5 times the average, and that the “overwhelming majority” are MAC Defender-related. The MAC Defender Mac security threat appears to have become one of the most serious to ever hit the Mac OS. Even though the code requires victims to give permission for installation, because of a false sense of security a large number of Mac users have fallen prey to this virus.
“Many now frustrated Mac users thought their Mac was impervious to viruses; this could be a real wakeup call for Apple. If malware like this keeps making its way into cyberspace and onto computers, Mac is going to have to change a lot of what they do to protect not only their users but a large reason behind their market share (virus invulnerability). Allegedly, Apple has explicitly told ACE employees not to aid users in removing the malware from their systems out of fear that they would expect similar assistance in the future with other viruses. The only help an Apple Care representative is expected to provide if the malware is installed on a person’s computer is to make sure Mac OS X and security are up-to-date, and then they are to direct people to the Mac App Store or the Apple online store; where apple turns a profit selling anti-virus software. However, If a person has not yet actually installed the malware, ACE’s are allowed to instruct people to quit the installer and delete the downloaded file. Apple’s policies differ greatly in this area from those of Microsoft, which offers free support for malware, and Dell and HP, which will scrub a system but only for a fee.
While support from Apple is a welcome development, the company’s initial reaction is disturbing in its own right from a consumer’s perspective. Perhaps more disturbing, to many Mac users is the realization that their OS’s, so long considered safe from most Internet viruses, are not immune after all.