Look out: “Mac Guard” malware doesn’t require a password to infect your computer

News of a nasty Mac program named Mac Defender hit the streets a few days ago. The app purports to be virus protection but in reality is a front for a credit card stealing operation. Mac Defender prompted security warnings and a promise of a software update designed to block it from installing in the coming days.

As bad as Mac Defender can be to your computer, at least it still required you to enter an administrator password to install the software–giving you a chance for pause before installing software that you didn’t intentionally download. Unfortunately, a variant known as Mac Guard bypasses the password requirement, meaning the software can install itself and do bad things to your computer (and your wallet).

The best thing you can do, as noted in the article, is keep your browser from automatically opening files you’ve downloaded:

“Precautions from Apple, Intego, and general Mac-using common sense include disabling Safari’s “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” option (under Safari -> Preferences -> General), and immediately quitting (or force-quitting) your browser if you see a Web page that attempts to disguise itself as an OS X window.”

Source: Intego: New variant of Mac Trojan horse doesn’t require a password from Macworld

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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.