It has been a long held argument by Mac-fans that the Mac OSX operating system is inherently more secure than its Microsoft Windows competitor. They claim that the proof for this claim is the fact that so many Windows PCs around the world have been hit with viruses, trojans, and other malware with such issues barely affecting Mac users.
Whilst it is true that Mac owners up to this point have seen very little malware in the wild, this could be argued to be down to the small marketshare of Apple computers compared to their Windows counterparts, and so malware-makers have focused their efforts on the larger sector. However, with Apple increasigly taking marketshare from Windows, it appears that malware manufacturers may be starting to change their focus, as publicized by the recent “scareware” MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity programs.
These scareware programs claim to scan your Mac for malware and then when apparently finding a number of security issues will charge the consumer $70 (£43) to fix them, all the while the computer was not infected by any malware except the scareware programs themselves. It is an easy con to trick less computer-savvy users into parting with their cash, and a method employed by some Windows software for a few years – but this is a recent occurrence on the Mac platform, and Apple is responding with an OSX update to protect its users from the problem.
Just as Apple are releasing this update, however, the scareware manufacturers are updating their software, now under the name of Mac Guard amongst others, with a new installation method that apparently will not need a user’s permission to be installed – something which if true is a lot more worrying.
It appears the days of safety and security by obscurity for the Mac platform is over.