For the most part, Mac users just don’t have the malware problems encountered so often by our Windows brethren.
The few viruses and worms made for Macs have never made it into the wild. Other kinds of semi-malicious malware—of the trojan horse spyware variety—have made it to the Mac. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what spyware lurks on your Mac? Well, now you can find out. For a price.
Viruses, Worms, and Trojans, Oh My!
Of all the malware that Mac users might face, the trojan horse is the one to worry about because—by the very name trojan horse—we are the ones to bring malware havoc upon ourselves by downloading and installing malicious software.
Guess who wants us to worry more about such Mac malware?
You guessed it. The very people who create Mac malware detecting software—in this case, it’s Intego, now warning Mac users about spyware.
Apparently, Intego has discovered Mac spyware (again, you have to download the spyware app and give it approval to be installed on your Mac) called OSX/OpinionSpy. Once installed on your Mac it runs in the background, opens a backdoor port, scans your Mac, opens files, and sends a lot of your personal data, encrypted, to some place.
How Do You Get And Stop Spyware?
In other words, you download some Mac app, utility, or screensaver, and, as part of the installation process, you inadvertently install the spyware on your Mac.
OSX/OpinionSpy is installed by a number of applications and screen savers that are distributed on sites such as MacUpdate, VersionTracker and Softpedia. The spyware itself is not contained in these applications, but is downloaded during the installation process.
Uh oh. Wait. There’s more. How can you stop this from happening to you? Drum roll, please…
This shows the need for an up-to-date anti-malware program with a real-time scanner that can detect this malware when it is downloaded by the original application’s installer.
You’ll need to pony up some extra cash, buy Intego’s VirusBarrier X6 (or whatever version of what they’re selling today), and it will sit on your Mac and warn you when the dirty spyware deed is about to happen.
That sounds fair, right?
I have an adjustment I’d like to see to Intego’s solution. How about if they just publish a list of which Mac software—the kind you download and which infects your Mac with malware during the installation process—so we know which apps not to download and install.
Gimme the list. Show me the apps.
Intego could show their altruistic side and notify MacUpdate, VersionTracker, Softpedia that some of the software listed on their sites does these dirty deeds. Those that do can be removed from their lists.
As it stands now, Mac users are forced to buy Intego’s snake oil utility on the chance that they’ve already infected their Macs with malware, or might infect their Macs with the next download.
It’s a little like the medical community saying that we could all be infected by some crazy version of influenza, and then charging us to detect it, and charging us for a vaccine to prevent it, but without telling us what it is, or what the symptoms are.
Intego is doing just that and they want Mac users to trust their intentions. I would trust their intentions more if they would name the offending software.