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Mac Defender Malware is a Serious Threat that is Easy to Remove

By DominicD
Mac users have reported an alarming surge of malware reports called Mac Defender. This malware installs on Mac OS X, scares the user of a fake virus warning, and then randomly displays pr0nographic webpages – all the while heightening panic from the previously “safe and virus-free” world of Mac users. This post is a compilation the current reports so far about the Mac Defender, how to remove Mac Defender, and how to start installing the much needed antivirus software for your Mac computer.

Mac Defender Removal
The removal of Mac Defender is as easy as booting into Safe mode and then uninstalling the app. Below is a detailed procedure.
  1. Boot the Mac in Safe Mode. To do this, shutdown the Mac
  2. Press the power button, press and hold the Shift key as soon as you hear the startup tone.
  3. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear)
  4. The Mac will not start in Safe mode
  5. While now in Safe mode, go to the Applications Folder > Choose > Move to Trash
  6. Reboot normally and reset Safari browser.
** Reminder to continue reading below for more information on adding a legitimate antivirus software for your Mac

Mac Defender Pretends to be a Legitimate Security Antivirus Update

While Windows users may have already been used to the popular and trusted antivirus software like McAfee, Symantec,AVG etc.. The Mac Defender exploits the Mac users to believing that it is a valid security update from Apple. The makers of the Mac Defender virus exploited browser search results, and redirected search results like “Osama Bin Laden” to a download of the Mac Defender virus.

In similar Apple fashion of simplicity and user friendliness, the disguised malware follows a very easy installation method – except for one measure that it asks for your administrator password. Note that with most Mac software installations, the administrator password is hardly required to complete an install. The creators of Mac Defender have cleverly tricked most users to giving the administrator password – as most users would have thought that installing a security app for the Mac is a new experience that the administrator password might be necessary.

Once installed, Mac Defender launches itself to the user’s startup folder and in the desktop. The malware is well designed, and looks professional. There are a number of different screens, and the grammar and spelling are correct, the buttons are attractive, and the overall look give it a professional look. It then starts to display random virus alerts to scare the user.

To further induce panic, the malware causes Safari browser to pop-up random pr0nographic websites. The random flashing of pr0n websites and intermittent antivirus alerts aim to scare and trick the user to hopefully “purchasing” the rogue antivirus.

Mac Defender Steals your Credit Card Information

Worried victims of Mac Defender are prone to serious credit card information theft. If a user is tricked to purchasing the full version of Mac Defender to remove the supposed virus and pr0n pop-ups, his credit card information is possibly caught and recorded by the virus makers. If you have given your credit card information on the purchase page of Mac Defender, it is suggested that you call your credit card company to warn you of any purchases made. After the successful removal of Mac Defender and the installation of a legitimate antivirus software, it is best to change online banking passwords and closely monitor your credit card account.

Events that Possibly Led to the Spread of Mac Malware
May 2, 2011 was the first published news about a DIY-Mac-Malware-creation-kit that has been leaked into the public. Supposedly, the malware for mac creation tool was sold into hacker markets. It didn’t take a while for someone to leak out the program and source code itself. This news somewhat intimidated Mac enthusiasts and security conscious users. However, since there were no apparent and widespread threats for two weeks, people had forgotten the warning. Its only after two weeks that the wide spread infection has begun. To further protect and prevent your Mac from future variants and copycats of this virus, it is strongly recommended that you install an antivirus for Mac.

Install an Antivirus for your Mac

Sophos Antivirus for Mac is a free and fully functional antivirus. The same with its Windows version, regular updates, scheduled scans, and real-time protection is provided by Sophos. Paid Mac antivirus software is also available from equally popular names like Norton and McAfee. The defining statement now is that the malware and virus attacks are a reality and they are indeed coming to the Mac OS X. The Mac userbase has grown a considerable number that those with evil entrepreneurial intentions are attacking Mac users to cash in on credit cards, and online identity theft from Mac users. While it is unclear if any more virus attacks will spread on the Mac shores, everyone is again encouraged to enforce better security on their Mac and computer devices.

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