Apple Pledges to Take Care of Malware for Macs

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • nebun
    apple needs to admit that it's OS is not as secure as people might think and start investing in a top of the line security company to help them develop a powerful anti-malware package
    Reply
  • tuch92
    I kept trying to tell people who wanted to buy macs solely on the fact that they "never got viruses" that once enough people bought them, they'd be in the same boat as before. If the viruses get to the point where they are on windows this update method can't work.
    Reply
  • if Mac OS X and Windows were a 50/50 split of the market, and coders were working on malware for both OSes, OS X would still be more secure thanks to it's rock solid unix architecture. Windows is just a much easier target.
    Reply
  • drwho1
    rickjamesb1tchif Mac OS X and Windows were a 50/50 split of the market, and coders were working on malware for both OSes, OS X would still be more secure thanks to it's rock solid unix architecture. Windows is just a much easier target.
    Apple is arrogant (just like your comment), and just like Sony... and we all know how that story goes...
    Reply
  • zybch
    rickjamesb1tchif Mac OS X and Windows were a 50/50 split of the market, and coders were working on malware for both OSes, OS X would still be more secure thanks to it's rock solid unix architecture. Windows is just a much easier target.And that is why the mac ALWAYS get screwed first in the Pwn2Own events??
    Reply
  • house70
    "but now the company has set a new precedent"

    What? MS has been doing this already.
    You mean, a new precedent for Apple? Like providing for the customers beyond milking their money? You got that right.

    "those less savvy users"
    I'm afraid you got that right, too.
    Reply
  • doron
    rickjamesb1tchif Mac OS X and Windows were a 50/50 split of the market, and coders were working on malware for both OSes, OS X would still be more secure thanks to it's rock solid unix architecture. Windows is just a much easier target.
    Thanks Wiki-drwho1 for sharing this unbiased objective info with us.
    Reply
  • doron
    doronThanks Wiki-drwho1 for sharing this unbiased objective info with us.
    I meant rickjamesb1tch.. Sorry for the bashing ;p
    Reply
  • house70
    This also means Apple finally admits that their OS is not immune. That's why it took them a while to do the right thing... they had to swallow their pride first.
    Reply
  • lassik
    Apple support have always been great, no question.

    It's never down to the manufacturer/OS company to get rid of viruses for you, because, lets face it; most viruses are down to the users stupidity or looking at too much pr0n.

    So it's nice that Apple have created a fix for this.
    Give M$ a call saying "I've got a virus, please create a security fix for it" and they'll laugh in your face.
    Reply