With the ever growing popularity of Apple products, it’s no surprise that the risk of obtaining malware is at an all time high for OS X. There’s always been this rumor that “Macs can’t get viruses,” but obviously that’s not the case, considering the risk is getting so great that the next version of OS X will ship with an anti-virus program called Gatekeeper. By default, Gatekeeper prevents any unsigned software from being installed, meaning you will have to purchase it from the App Store, or find a developer whom has been approved. It’s unsettling to think that Mac users might one day have to jump through the same hoops as PC users just to prevent malicious software from taking over your machine, but I don’t think it’ll ever get quite that bad.
Here’s an example of some scareware that recently started attacking OS X users:
In a nutshell, scams like this lurk in Google Images with fake links to photos, you click on the photo, it re-directs you to a page that looks like Finder, and at the same time downloads a false anti-virus program like Mac-Defender. It appears to be a legit anti-virus, but once the user runs the executable it will install malware and you will then have successfully contracted a virus on your Mac.
All of this can be a bit of a scare, especially if you’ve been believing your iMac could never get a virus, but malware can be easily avoided if you just take the time to do some research;
- Never install software that you’re unsure of – if you’ve never heard of it, odds are there’s already a better, more trusted program available
- Use Google Chrome - A great feature of Chrome is it’s URL based filtering that warns you if you’re about to go to a page with known malware
- For Safari, turn off “open safe files after downloading” - This is the feature that automatically unzips files or opens a dmg as soon as it’s downloaded. If you mistakenly downloaded some kind of malicious software, it could automatically extract and install itself
- Perform regular virus scans with legitimate anti-virus software - I’ve always used an open-source program called ClamAV , even when I was running Linux. It’s the best free anti-virus I’ve ever used, and it’s trusted by many (download: http://www.clamav.net/lang/en/)
- Never download an anti-virus from a banner add or popup - I’ve been seeing a lot of ads for Mac-Keeper/ Mac-Defender/ etc. and they look like an honest service, but like I said earlier, they’re both malware.
For further reading:
- Fake Anti-Virus List (at WebWhiteNoise.com) http://www.webw…-antivirus-list/
- Apples New OS X tightens screws on some malware (ComputerWorld.com) http://www.compute…nomyId=17
- Apple Support Communities – Is Clam AV Safe to Use? (discussions.apple.com) https://discussi…art=0
- Mac OS X Malware is Here For Real (f-secure.com) http://www.f-secure.com/web…02165.html
- More Mac Malware – Top Tips For Avoiding Infection (NakedSecurity.com) http://nakedsecuri…infection/