Earlier this week we learned that malware makers are targeting Macs in an effort to steal the credit card numbers of those less savvy users. Malware removal is hardly ever the responsibility of the vendor; and Apple at the time had a policy even for its AppleCare extended warranty customers that the company couldn't intervene even with an antivirus software recommendation.
In a somewhat surprising move, Apple has decided to tackle the Mac Defender (and its variants) head-on in an upcoming software update. It even published a support document instructing how users may remove the malware if it has already been installed on their systems.
Apple's summary read:
A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender "anti-virus" software to solve the issue.
This “anti-virus” software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes.
The most common names for this malware are MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity.
In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware.
In the meantime, the Resolution section below provides step-by-step instructions on how to avoid or manually remove this malware.
Apple's attention to defending its users against this malware is nice, but now the company has set a new precedent. With the growing popularity of Macs, the cases of targeted malware can only increase. Will Apple continue to issue bulletins and updates like this, or is this just a one time thing? It'll be interesting to see what will happen going forward.