Apple has broken its silence on the recent surge in Mac malware and will distribute software to find and kill the rogue programs.
According to documents leaked to zdnet.com reporter Ed Bott, the tech giant previously gagged support officers from advising customers on how to remove rogue anti-virus programs such as MacDefender, despite a reported surge in related customer complaints.
Apple in a statement today alerted users to an upcoming patch and for the first time acknowledged the malware's existence.
"In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove MacDefender malware and its known variants,” the company said.
“The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware.”
Apple advised users to immediately delete the malware, and avoid entering administrative passwords and credit card details if MacDefender, MacProtector or MacSecurity had been installed.
The malware was reported earlier this month by French security firm Intego; Apple has kept mum despite extensive analysis of the malware and reports of a budding infection epidemic.
Apple’s MacDefender removal steps
- Move or close the Scan Window
- Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor
- Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
- Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector
- Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
- Quit Activity Monitor application
- Open the Applications folder
- Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
- Drag to Trash, and empty Trash
Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.
- Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
- Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
- Click the minus button