Before anyone is alarmed by the headline and the screenshot shown below - don't panic! While it appears to be yet another new case in the uncharted waters of malware existing on Mac OS X, it is easily avoided by well-educated users.
This new rogue antivirus, named MAC Defender, is now technically the first "rogueware" to target the Mac platform. Its tactics are the same as those that have terrorized Windows users with pay-to-clean schemes.
The software takes advantage of a current popular news topic by poisoning search results - in this case, the news surrounding Osama bin Laden's death. Links are offered to download the software. Then they install themselves into a user's computer, alert the user to hidden "threats," and demand they pay to remove them.
The rogue antivirus was discovered by a Mac security firm Intego who noted the application's design lends a small hint of authenticity and professionalism to the untrained eye. However, like many Mac-based malware before it, it does require users to first download the file, execute the installer, then enter an administrator password before it can install. Despite these standard security measures, this application has actually caught a few Mac users off guard.
This incident serves as a gentle reminder to exercise diligence when surfing the Internet, no matter which platform you frequent. Most users here should be intelligent enough to avoid scams like these, but for your friends and family who may not, there are a few free antivirus solutions for the Mac in case they need a safety net to fall back on.
Image Credit: Intego