Apple officials have been forced to release a security update to remove malicious ‘scareware’ from the computers of an estimated 125,000 users. The programs, known as MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity were used to infect machines in order to trick users into thinking their computer had something seriously wrong with it. They would then be offered the option of purchasing software to ‘fix’ their computers, inputting their credit card details.
The controversy increased when it was revealed that Apple had tried to suppress information about the malware from customers contacting the support phone line. Staff at the Apple support centres had reported to ZDnet that they received specific instructions on what to do if contacted about the problem.
They stated the following:
“AppleCare does not provide support for removal of the malware. You should not confirm or deny whether the customer’s Mac is infected or not.”
- Do not confirm or deny that any such software has been installed.
- Do not attempt to remove or uninstall any malware software.
- Do not send any escalations or contact Tier 2 for support about removing the software, or provide impact data.
- Do not refer customers to the Apple Retail Store. The ARS does not provide any additional support for malware.
These attacks show a general change in the tactics and strategy of hacking. Previously, the majority of viruses, malware and spyware were designed for Windows PCs, due to their market dominance. Now that Apple MacBooks are far more popular, hackers see them as a legitimate target to make money and cause havoc.
There was a time when Apple was considered the ‘good guy’ of the computing business. This sort of customer service will not enamour them to consumers or those concerned about the security of their computers.