Rogue anti-malware targets Mac users

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 15, 2008

Scam expands horizons to draw in new market of victims.

The rogue anti-malware scam, in which fake anti-spyware and anti-virus products are inveigled into victims' machines, reporting spurious infections and demanding licensing fees to remove them, has branched out to target users of Apple Macintosh systems.

According to a report from F-Secure, the latest attack goes by the name 'MacSweeper', which is typical of the vaguely security-related titles given to such scamware on Windows. MacSweeper operates in a similar fashion to its Windows counterparts, tricking users into installing the scam software with offers of free software, warnings of malware danger and boasts of superior quality - in this case using text copied directly from the Symantec website.

Once installed, the 'free' software will invariably 'discover' a list of security issues with the system, which are hard-coded into the product itself, and popups will insist on payment for the 'full' version if the user wishes to remove the 'threats'.

'Rogue anti-malware is a pure social-engineering attack,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'While Mac users may currently be at lower risk from actual malware attacks, scams which target users' fears and desires can still be a highly effective way for cybercriminals to defraud this growing portion of the market. Like anyone else, Mac users need to keep on their toes and insist on security products with strong reputations and external validation of quality.'

More details, including screenshots of the software in action, are at F-Secure here.

Posted on 15 January 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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