Viruses catch up to the Mac

Benjamin Daines was browsing the Web when he clicked on a series of links that promised pictures of an unreleased update to his computer's operating system.

Instead, a window opened on the screen and strange commands ran as if the machine was under the control of someone -- or something -- else.

Daines was the victim of a computer virus.

Such headaches are hardly unusual on PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system. Daines, however, was using a Mac -- an Apple Computer Inc. machine often touted as being immune to such risks.

He and at least one other person who clicked on the links were infected by what security experts call the first virus for Mac OS X, the operating system that has shipped with every Mac sold since 2001 and has survived virtually unscathed from the onslaught of malware unleashed on the Internet in recent years.

"It just shows people that no matter what kind of computer you use you are still open to some level of attack," said Daines, a 29-year-old British chemical engineer who once considered Macs invulnerable to such attacks.

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