MacDefender – How to Stay Safe

Over the last month or two, a virus, or more accurately a trojan, has become fairly widespread. The unique thing about this trojan is that it’s specific to the Mac OS. Unfortunately, this trojan preys upon people that are trying to protect themselves by acting like anti-virus software. Once installed, the seemingly innocuous software asks for the user to purchase the antivirus software. Once the user declines, the software takes the user to pornographic websites in hopes of actually infecting the computer with a virus.

Thankfully, the steps to remove the software are easy. Apple has posted step by step instructions at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4650.

My mother always says that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so to that end, I encourage everyone to follow Apple’s advice on how to avoid installing the software. Don’t type in your administrator password unless you are 100% sure of what you’re installing. If in doubt, force quit your browser and the installer. Check your downloads folder for “MacDefender,” “MacGuard” or anything similar, and delete it.

Another step you can take to help prevent downloading the trojan is to regularly run your software updates. Go to the Apple Menu (the very top-left corner of your screen) and click “Software Update.” If there are available updates, install them.

Information is the most helpful thing in fighting off threats like MacDefender. Hopefully no new threats surface, but if they do, check back here for instructions on how to avoid them.

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