Consumer, Consumer Threat Notices, Family Safety, McAfee Labs

Fake-Alert Scam Targets Mac Users

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By on May 04, 2011

One of the most prevalent families of recent Trojans is called fake alerts. These Trojans generate fake warning screens that look like they were generated by legitimate security or anti-malware software. The majority of malware within this family attempts to con users by convincing them that their systems are at risk and that they should purchase the full version of the software to clean and repair their systems. One reason these fake alert scams have been so prevalent recently is largely due to the success of these scams. The Trojans use ever more professional-looking alerts to convince more and more users that the software is legitimate. Many fake-alert products even use the names and logos of popular security software.

McAfee Labs recently analyzed one of these Trojans, MacDefender.

Some of my colleagues have authored a report to help computer users distinguish between legitimate security software and fake or rogue security products. The paper is still timely and well worth a read.

With the increasing popularity and market share of systems running Apple’s Mac OS, these devices have also become a larger target for malware. Fake alerts are not the only malware families that infect the Mac, however. Threat predictions show increasing trends in malware targeting OS X. Some other notable examples found in the wild include:

HellRaiser
http://home.mcafee.com/VirusInfo/VirusProfile.aspx?key=265239

BlackHole RAT
http://blogs.mcafee.com/mcafee-labs/blackhole-rat-eats-into-mac-os-x

OSX/Puper
http://www.mcafee.com/threat-intelligence/malware/default.aspx?id=154438

Regardless of your computer platform, take the proper precautions, remain updated, and surf safely.

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