Macs can be infected AND be carriers of malware.

Yes, Macs CAN be infected. Period.

Granted that because of the way their operating system is built (largely thanks to the UNIX core it draws from) it is more difficult to infect them, but none the less they can be infected. More importantly, your Mac can be a carrier for malware spreading that malware to others you email, etc.

One reader of my blog sent me an email they received, apparently from PayPal, telling them that a payment had been deposited into their account. Fortunately, after reading my earlier blog item about avoiding bogus emails and phishing scams, they were able to recognize the warning signs. First, they didn't recognize the person who had supposedly paid them. Second, they hovered over the links and none of them matched their displayed counterparts.

They wanted me to check out this phishing scam and forwarded me the offending email. When I received it, my anti-virus immediately kicked in and grabbed the attachment. Here's the payload that was trying to launch before I even opened the email:

macs-can-carry-malware-01


Notice the "370163.emlx" piece... that was the attachment this email contained. As soon as the attachment was touched by my Mac's operating system, to write it to the hard drive, Kaspersky... my anti-virus-of-choice grabbed it allowing me the privilege of hitting the "Delete" button and bringing this potential nasty to a swift end. By the way... you can set your anti-virus to automatically deal with malware when it's detected. Don't think you need to be bothered every time one is found... I like to know because it's my business.

Here's what this malware was trying to do to my Mac:

macs-can-carry-malware-03


I contacted the reader and told them to immediately update their anti-virus definitions, run a complete scan of their computer and told them what to look for. Sure enough, the outdated definitions had allowed the malware to run. Fortunately, the scan was run soon enough after that the compromise was stopped.

The moral of this story?

  • Mac users still clinging to the old paradigm that our computers are invulnerable... wake up and smell the malware, baby! Stop being harbingers of malware for everyone you electronically connect with and throw down some anti-virus protection for your Mac. Here's a couple of the best choices: Kaspersky and Intego's Virus Barrier family of products. The latter is especially good right now because the app is also available for your Apple mobile devices. The tablet version of Kaspersky is being worked on for the iPad (no release date available), but currently they cover only Android devices.

Until next time!
Bob


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