Apple yesterday promised to come out with an update for Mac OS X that would find and delete the MacDefender fake security software. It would also warn uninfected users when they download the bogus program.
The announcement, which was included in a new support document that the company posted late yesterday, came as the company's first public recognition of the threat posed by what security experts refer to as "scareware" or "rogueware."
"In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants," Apple said in the document. "The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware."
According to analysts, it was surprising that Apple said it would embed a malware cleaning tool in Mac OS X. They say it was new ground for Apple, as it is the first instance of the company, which till now had only offered a bare-bones malware detection mechanism in Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, and then only populated it with a handful of signatures. They add that Apple would not only help customers remove [MacDefender], but by doing so, the were also admitting that the existence of security problems with Mac OS.
MacDefender -- which is also known as MacProtector and MacSecurity first came up for discussion when French security company Intego said it had found the scareware in the wild.
Scareware and rogueware refer to bogus security software that scares the user with persistent warnings over infection of computer with worms, viruses and other malware. After it is installated, the software flashes pervasive pop-ups and fake alerts until users purchase the worthless program.