Mac OS and Malware Issues

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Two new Mac OS malware variants have been discovered as soon as the FlashBack Trojan issue is staring to decline. Discovered by Kaspersky, they are versions of SabPub – an information-stealing Trojan.

Mac OS is starting to get it’s own share of malware attacks now that it has grabbed a big marketshare. But still, Apple continues the won’t-get-infected-by-virus  proposition about the OS. And this is one of the features that PC consumers are anticipating everytime they buy these machines/devices. And that they’re safe from malwares without anything to be done.

Yes it won't get infected by Windows-based viruses.

It’s misleading. Macs won’t really get infected by malwares/viruses that are Windows-based. But they may get infected by those that are made for Macs. Even if those malwares attack third-party softwares (Java, Flash, etc.), it’s just inevitable to install them because they are part of everyday browsing and other computer tasks. Once they’re infected, Mac users would also be exposed to what their Windows counterparts are experiencing, e.g. stolen credentials and the like.

Apple should start educating its consumers about computer security on Macs. There’s nothing wrong on telling your users to install an anti-virus or that they should be extra careful when browsing the web. They should stop this misleading information about a virus-free Mac OS.

Flashback Trojan Removal

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It was reported that more than 650,000 Mac OS X computers were infected by the Flashback Trojan. For now, it only conducts a click fraud scam that takes control of users’ search results in their browsers. But according to this report, it can steal banking and other login credentials.
Flashback Trojan disguises itself as a Flash installer. If you are prompted to install Flash which looks like the image below, abort the installation by clicking the X button on the upper left corner of the window.
If you want to check if your machine is infected, download the removal tool (FlashbackRemoval.zip) from F-Secure. Unzip the file after downloading and double click the unzipped script. You will be asked to accept the license agreement.
If traces of the trojan are found, it will start the clean up process. But if your system is clean, you will be prompted by this:
Apple has already released an update which has an integrated tool for removing the trojan. Always keep your Macs updated. Here’s the screenshot of the update:

Friday is Free Day – Prey

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Prey is a lightweight, open-source software that lets owners keep track of their phones and laptops. This app will also let you find your mobile devices if they ever get lost or stolen. Here’s a story, just this May, about a missing laptop and how the owner retrieved it by using Prey (and Twitter too).

Download Prey from the preyproject website and install it on your device. It’s cross-platform – supports Mac, Windows, and Linux. Install the software and create your Prey account. After the installation, visit your Prey account control panel by logging in to the website. Here’s my control panel:

Sample Device

Registered device

You’ll see that you’re machine is now being tracked. If you’re device is stolen or is missing, just log in to your control panel and click on your device name. From there, you can inform the Prey website that your device is missing, set the frequency of Prey reports to your email, get your device’s current location (geolocation), turn the webcam on, grab a screenshot, etc.

Prey Control Panel

Prey Control Panel

After saving the changes just wait for reports on your email which you may use to track down your device. If you have problems about the software, preypoject’s support page is a good place to look for solutions.

Update:

I tested Prey and set my registered device’s state to missing.

Missing Device

Device declared missing

After 10 minutes of waiting, I got an email from Prey about the missing laptop. I waited for its second report and here’s the screenshot (notice that I’m already using a Windows 7 machine while the subject device is a  MacBook Pro):

Prey report screenshot

Spongebob took my laptop!

There’s the webcam shot of the person who has the laptop, a screenshot of what he’s doing, details about the current IP address, logged user, and the machine’s uptime. Those would help tracking down the missing device.

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