Mac users learn about security the hard way

It’s time for Mac users to take their heads out of the sand.
With the first widespread infection specifically targeting OS X, Mac Defender, many Mac users are facing the realization that Mac is not as impervious to infection as they previously believed. Even Apple is acknowledging this threat and has provided an online support document to help identify and remove the threat.

Apple has promised that “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.” But we expect this to just be the beginning. As Macs gain popularity in the PC marketplace (remember, PC means Personal Computer, not Windows) they will increasingly become a target for malware and
hackers.

While even life-long Mac users have likely used Windows at work or school, many may not be familiar with the basic measures to prevent an infection. So, we’re here to provide
you with a couple of basic tips.

  1. Install Antivirus. Most Mac users do not have
    any antivirus installed, previously believing that Mac’s can’t get an
    infection. While this has never actually been true, they have been rare enough and contained well enough, that it was an easily held misconception.
  2. Be aware of phishing scams. Many infections require user interaction to cause harm. Be suspicious of unknown software sites and of any software trying to install that you didn’t ask for and never give your password to run installers you aren’t 100% sure about.
  3. Turn off “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” in Safari. With this option turned on, the infection will automatically try to install.
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