LONDON — Generally, Mac computers are less susceptible to viruses and malware than Windows-based PCs. But they're not invulnerable and security firms are now warning of porn malware that's a threat to Mac users.
Information Week reports UK security firm Sophos has found two new malware attacks are aimed at Macs. One is Trojan software OSX/Jahlav-C and the other is a Tored worm designed to infest a system.
OSX/Jahlav-C offers a message to visitors of what appears to be a faux porn portal in a pop-up that claims they're missing a "Video ActiveX Object" to view content and need to download it. If a Mac user agrees to the download, their computer will be infected.
In a post Thursday on the security firm's website Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley also warned the Trojan could also hit Windows machines, as well.
"The booby-trapped websites determine if the victim's Web browser is running on Windows or Mac OS X, and serve up malware specifically designed for the visitor's operating system," Cluley said.
"Although there is much less malware for Mac OS X than there is for Windows, that's going to be little consolation if your shiny new MacBook gets infected, Cluley added. "Many in the Mac community have had their heads buried in the sand for too long about the real nature of the threat."
Sophos also reported learning of an “SRC CoDE of new Macintosh worm," so its Canadian labs released OSX/Tored-Fam to detect future variants of the Tored family of malware.
One of the files, called ReadIt.txt, contains the following message:
"RESPECT about what are you talking about me (cybercriminal..) Dont say what you ignore!!!!!!!!.”
"It is becoming more and more common for hackers to use social engineering tricks -- like telling surfers that they need to download a plug-in on their Mac to watch a video -- to weasel their way onto computers," Sophos' Cluely said. "Some Mac users may have thought that it was safe to surf for porn on their Apple Mac, but they were wrong."
Despite the warning for Macs, such attacks are still fewer for Apple enthusiasts. As Sophos' Paul Baccas commented, "Mac malware can seem like buses -- you see none for ages and then two come along at once."
Any site that suggests download of a control or application tool should always be treated with suspicion, tech experts say.
Those concerned about a potential infection should look into protection and cleansing software and if part of a business using Macs, immediately speak with the company IT director.