Most Mac users have lived in pure eternal virus-free bliss for many years. But of course, as Macs have become known for their virus free platform, hackers have come a knockin’ and have finally blown the house down. Mac Defender, the latest and most successful attempt to implant malware onto Macs comes as MacProtector and MacSecurity as well.
The basic ploy of the malware was to redirect Mac users from legitimate sites to fake sites which then tell the user that their Mac is infected. To tell you the truth, even with my scrutiny of the slightest odd looking site, I probably would have click on the link and downloaded the “anti-virus” software had I not been one of the lucky ones to hear about it before it was my problem.
As with many malware attacks, the ultimate goal comes down to money. The attack goes after the user’s credit card information in the hopes of skimming their info for fraudulent purposes. Well, it wasn’t fraudulent until they stole the credit card. Who knows, it might have been a birthday present for the hacker’s girlfriend.
Luckily, for all of us, Apple posted yesterday that they will deliver a Mac OS X software update “that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants.”
If you’re one of the unlucky few and can’t wait for the update, here are the step-by-step instructions for avoiding or manually removing the malware, which Apple was so kind to post to their latest entry. Make sure to visit the Apple website for updated information.
How to avoid installing this malware
If any notifications about viruses or security software appear, quit Safari or any other browser that you are using. If a normal attempt at quitting the browser doesn’t work, then Force Quit the browser.
In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software. If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password. Delete the installer immediately using the steps below.
- Go into the Downloads folder or your preferred download location.
- Drag the installer to the Trash.
- Empty the Trash.
How to remove this malware
If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:
- Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
- Use the Removal Steps below.
- Move or close the Scan Window
- Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor
- Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
- Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector
- Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
- Quit Activity Monitor application
- Open the Applications folder
- Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
- Drag to Trash, and empty Trash
Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.
- Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
- Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
- Click the minus button
Use the steps in the “How to avoid installing this malware” section above to remove the installer from the download location.