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Mac targeted in string of malware

Feb 27, 20062 mins

Reading the writing on the wall, it’s safe to say that Mac is now being aggressively targeted by malware writers. In the past two weeks, four malcodes directed at Mac OSX have emerged. And while they were just proof of concept (3 versions of Ingtana worms) and not fully functional (Leap.A), they clearly indicate that we can no longer be complacent about security on our Macs, says Ken Dunham, director of rapid response for iDefense, a Verisign company in Reston, Va. Dunham notes that original virus scene was most prolific on Macintosh computers, with viruses like WDEF running rampant in the wild in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Then we became complacent after the last major Macintosh threat, which was the Autostart worm in 1998, about eight years ago. It’s not a question of “When will viruses get problematic on the Mac?” but more of a “Am I doing everything I can to protect myself now?” says Mike Romo, manager for Mac protection products at Symantec. So Mac users, just like Windows users, should keep their system up to date, Romo continues, which is easy with Apple Auto updates. They should also be just as wary of unsolicited emails, attachments and file transfers. And look for more security software vendors providing malware definitions for the Mac, such as Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus 10, which includes virus definitions for Mac OSX. Finally, expect to see more products that are O/S agnostic, he adds. “I can’t speak to future products yet, but suffice to say, we are definitely looking at platform agnostic threats, which, in my view, are even bigger threats than viruses and worms. Protecting the Mac community from identity theft and online scams—this is a major focus for us,” he says. “And yes, you’ll see updated versions of our current (Mac) applications as well. I can’t help but admit that our products could use a real face-lift this time around!”


Deb Radcliff is an investigative journalist and analyst focused on computer crime and security. She is author of the popular cyber thriller series, “Breaking Backbones,” available at Amazon.

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