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Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category
April 24th, 2012

avast! Free Antivirus for Mac and the Flashback botnet

Mac computers running the beta version of avast! Free Antivirus for Mac were not infected by the Flashback Trojan.

“We’ve confirmed our app’s detection abilities for Flashback within the test lab and with reports from our beta testers,” says Jiri Sejtko, director of AVAST Virus Lab operations.

The Flashback Trojan linked to the Mac botnet is a derivative of last year’s DevilRobber Mac OS X Trojan. The AVAST Virus Lab now has 18 variants of this malware in its antivirus database.

“With an estimated 600,000 infected Macs, this botnet is just a large example that the Apple operating system is not immune from malware,” said Jiri. “Add a growing market share that makes Mac an attractive target for the bad guys together with a user base that insists they do not need a security app – you have all the conditions in place for an epidemic to rip through.”

The latest Flashback variants can infect vulnerable Macs without requiring the victim to enter a password. “Mac malware has historically been dependent on social engineering – convincing the user to enter the required password. Now these days are over and Mac users can pick up malware just by visiting an infected website,” adds Jiri. “Welcome to the real world.”

Flashback is a logical step in Mac malware’s steady evolution, he points out. Initial malware samples were rather simple, just compiler-generated code, with no encryption whatsoever, but it has since evolved to be more “custom”, with encrypted strings and code, and structured to avoid security apps like LittleSnitch(firewall software for Mac OS) or Apple’s XProtect. During 2011, there were some large-scale attempts to spread Mac malware via Google Image poisoning.

“It takes 1-2 years for malware guys to adapt to a new technology – it took a similar time when they switched from DOS to Windows. This latest botnet did not fall out of the clear blue sky. The conditions have been building for some time and I’m glad that our security app will soon be available for Mac users,” says Jiri.

avast! Free Antivirus for Mac is currently in the late  BETA stage. It includes the latest avast! antivirus engine, three shields (Web, File, and Mail) and the WebRep reputation and anti-phishing plugin for Safari browser. avast! Free Antivirus for Mac builds on the AVAST Software tradition of providing a full-fledged security app which is completely free. More details coming very soon.

Categories: Mac, Uncategorized, Virus Lab Tags: ,
July 8th, 2011

5 tips to keep your Mac secure

Apple’s ‘cloak of invulnerability’ has lately been shredded by the MacDefender fake antivirus and the Pinhead and Boonana Trojans. Don’t worry, be proactive. Here are five tips to make your Mac more secure:

1. Don’t use ‘automatic login’

It’s cool to turn your computer on and instantly use it. But troubles can start when a computer is turned on by someone other than its owner… If you are concerned about your sensitive data, you can encrypt or simply disable the ‘automatic login’ function.  Here’s how to do it:

1) Go to System Preferences > Security

2) Authenticate yourself by clicking Click the lock to make changes

3) Check Disable automatic login Read more…

Categories: Mac Tags: , , , , ,
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July 1st, 2011

Notes on internal MacOS anti-malware tool (aka XProtect)

On August 28, 2009, Apple released Snow Leopard. One of new functions added to this version is basic anti-malware tool called “XProtect”. The name is based on the name of one .plist file which contains strings that are necessary for detection. Apple had not provided a name for the tool, so developers made it. Read more…

Categories: Mac Tags: , , , ,
May 30th, 2011

How to create a secure password (the not-boring way)

You’ve probably seen applications for generating passwords. For those who have not, this is how the process actually works:

  • application for generating passwords is downloaded
  • user runs the application and presses the “generate” button
  • a string appears that looks something like this: I8kjH9s&ER1()G
  • this string is used as a password for his Mail / Facebook / Twitter / …

And now, the user has two options:

  1. he’ll forget his new password immediately
  2. to ensure that the new password is not forgotten, he’ll write it down on a sticker and put it on the computer monitor. If the user has other computer-generated passwords, he will place this “my email” sticker  on top of the existing stickers.

So what’s the deal? Why am I telling you this? Because in a moment, we’re going to learn how to create secure passwords – and you’ll see that you are going to change passwords more often than you have previously. Because creating passwords can be fun.

Read more…

May 20th, 2011

Mac malware – a short history

There’s a groovy discussion in the world of Apple about the security of Mac OS. I’ve seen this kind of discussion many times and in most cases it had a quite similar scenario. We won’t go through this entire scenario (although it could be fun), we’ll just summarize the core of it with one phrase that pops up in all these debates: “There are no viruses for Mac OS.”

Let’s take a short excursion through the history of Mac infections.

Read more…