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John Bowdler

MACDefender - DEFENceless?

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Apparently, there is a new "scareware" virus which is targeted at the Mac, called MACDefender.

 

It tries to scare you into installing fake Mac anti-virus software, saying there are security problems on your Mac.

 

Presumably, this is just another case of 'don't install anything that looks dodgy'?

 

John

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if malware does become a problem it's simple to turn off admin privileges that will disallow unknown things installing themselves. you simply open System Preferences, click Accounts, uncheck a box. actually that's over simplified. the steps are more like open System Preferences, click Accounts, click the lock, type your password, make a new user called admin, check the admin box, enable fast user switching, log out of your account, log into admin, open System Preferences, click Accounts, click the lock, type your password, click your main user name, uncheck the admin box, log out, log back in. and now your Mac is secure from anything installing without a password or your explicit approval.

 

I could even make a case for NOT running your day to day user account with Admin privileges. I think there aren't many reasons left to run as admin. the primary reason is to run as admin is that it's easier to install things. if you are doing that all day long switching out to an admin account or turning on the privileges would get annoying if you had to do that multiple times in a day. but I'm not installing stuff everyday. in fact, the last thing I installed was a new version of Transmit and that was over a month ago.

 

the only thing that a day-to-day user would need to install is fonts. the good news is that works, no password required.

Edited by johnfoster

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Great! That's pretty much what I'm doing already.

 

I suppose these types of malware operate on the basis that the weakest link is the user - if you install something you shouldn't install, well then it's your fault.

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FYI, Apple is supposedly putting a removal tool for MacDefender in 10.6.8. But yes, running as an admin user day to day for most people is plain stupid. We strongly urge all our clients to run as standard users.

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