SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – An old trick that’s beguiled Windows users for years has become a growing threat on Macintosh machines.

Calls have poured into Apple for several weeks about a piece of malware known as Mac Defender that poses as an antivirus warning in order to trick users into paying for software they don’t need.

KCBS technology analyst Larry Magid said what could be the first widespread malware attack in Apple’s history should earn the company an ironic congratulations.

“They’ve arrived. They now are a big enough platform that it is in the interest of malware writers to go after them,” Magid said.

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid Comments:

Developers and users have debated for years whether Apple’s seeming imperviousness to malware and virus attacks stemmed from the skill of OS X programmers or the size of Apple’s user base. Apple’s website boasts about the security of its platform.

Now a piece of scareware like Mac Defender, designed just for Mac, has finally settled the debate, Magid said. “They still have a much smaller market share than Windows, but there are enough Mac users out there that they’re now a target.”

Since Mac Defender’s appearance, users have been grumbling on blogs and in other public forums about the company’s near silence on the issue. Several bloggers and columnists such as Vince Horiuchi at the Salt Lake Tribune, however, have posted how-to steps for getting rid of Mac Defender.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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