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New BlackHole RAT Malware Variant for OS X Uncovered

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 28-09-2011

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Mac malwareMany of you remember when malware, known as BlackHole or MusMinim, was discovered by security company Sophos for Mac OS X. If you don’t remember, BlackHole is a backdoor server program Remote Access Tool (RAT) that runs on an infected system and allows a remote user(s) to interact with the system.

The user can then issue shutdown commands, display screen messages, open URLs or request usernames and passwords. In simpler terms, this is similar to a remote desktop utility that is not distributed for productive purposes.

Unlike more recent attempts at getting malware on Mac OS X that attempt to keep hidden and steal a user’s information automatically, BlackHole isn’t very discreet and requires a remote user to actively interact with the system.

That is why many security experts classify it more as a prank or “annoyware” as opposed to malware. Despite that, though, it can still be used for the purpose of stealing information and was not developed as a legitimate piece of software, which technically classifies it as malware.

It does appear as if the developer of BlackHole is refining the malware as Sopho has just released new definitions on a third variant of the malware. When new malware is discovered, definitions of it are usually labeled alphabetically in order to differentiate its variants.

Even though this malware is in no way as volatile as the MacDefender malware and its variants, it does show that even seemingly old malware can be tweaked at any time. Despite the development, there really is nothing new and it presents a very low risk to Mac users.

If you do happen to come across this malware on your Mac, it is advisable that you remove it as soon as possible, if only to be better safe than sorry.

Source: CNET – Sophos tackles new BlackHole RAT malware variant for OS X

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Mac Defender Malware Removal Instructions Released by Apple

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 25-05-2011

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Mac Defender MalwareAre you one of the many people who has been having problems with annoying malware in the form of Mac Defender? If so, you will be pleased to know that Apple has recently posted a support document explaining the steps you can take in order to avoid or remove Mac Defender. Apple also stated that it would release an update to Mac OS X in order to automatically find and remove the malware.

Apple’s support document describes the malware as a phishing scam that automatically redirects users from a legitimate website to a fake program telling the users that their computer has been infected with a virus even though it really hasn’t.

In addition to that, the websites then offer users fake antivirus protection in order to solve the false problem. The protection that is offered comes under many names including Mac Defender, Mac Protector and Mac Security with the word “MAC” spelled in all caps.

The removal steps set forth by Apple detail quitting the offending app and deleting it from your Utilities folder that it is installed to by default. This particular malware’s primary goal is to attempt to gain the user’s credit card information by selling them a solution they don’t need to a problem they don’t have.

Many supporters of Windows PCs are using this as proof that Mac computers are now experiencing malware and virus problems just like the kind Windows PCs have experienced for the past 20 years. Security Expert Charlie Miller has downplayed these malware threats on Mac computers.

Miller stated in an interview, “Microsoft recently pointed out that 1 in 14 downloads on Windows are malicious. And the fact that there is just one piece of Mac malware being widely discussed illustrates how rare malware still is on the Mac platform.”

Miller also explained that while antivirus software can help protect your system from being attacked, “it’s expensive, uses system memory and reduces battery life. At some point soon, the scales will tip to installing antivirus, but at this point, I don’t think it’s worth it yet for most people.”

Apple recommends that Mac users “should exercise caution any time they are asked to enter sensitive personal information online.” Apple also noted that, “it provides security updates for the Mac exclusively through Software Update and the Apple Support Downloads site.”

This scam pops up a fake website scanner that looks similar to iTunes and depicts itself as being an “Apple Security Center”, which is apparently modeled after the “Windows Security Center” that Microsoft added to its own products.

Source: Apple Insider – Apple posts instructions on how to remove Mac Defender malware

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