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Anti-virus vendors respond to Mac troubles

Simon Quicke


The anti virus industry is starting to crank up the sales pitch around Apple after the vendor was hit by a highly publicised attack that has left users looking for a system update and guidance from the Mac maker.

For many years there was a belief held onto by Mac users that the platform was more secure than PC alternatives but the episode with the MacDefender virus, which informs users they have a virus and then directs them to a phising site to obtain personal and financial information, has shaken that view.

Apple warned it users about the problem and announced plans to issue a security update but it has also sparked third-party vendors into action to try and deal with what could be the start of more widespread attacks on the Mac platform.

Amit Klein, CTO of web security firm Trusteer, said that the Mac was just as susceptible to malware as PCs but just had not been targeted as much in the past.

"The situation, as witnessed by the arrival of MacDefender, is slowly changing. We are seeing more attack tools for the Mac OS being released. If this continues, the risk of using a Mac could become similar to using a PC," he said.

There has also been a response to the MacDefender problems from Avast, which has released an antivirus Mac product in beta for users to deploy.

"The Mac has long had a 'cloak of invulnerability' because its small market share made it a fringe target for malware. As Mac sales surge it is becoming a natural target for malware," said Ondrej Vicek, CTO of Avast Software.



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