Apple to Patch Against MacDefender, Plans to Aid Users in Removal

Posted by at 10:47 pm on May 24, 2011

Apple tonight confirmed in a support document that it was patching the avenue for the MacDefender malware attack. The company promised a Mac OS X fix in “coming days” that would automatically detect and pull all known instances of MacDefender. Mac users would also get a warning if they downloaded it, the company said.

In an interim step, Apple’s notice also gave ways to remove the rogue code. The steps are simple and involve shutting down all active instances of MacDefender’s processes in Activity Monitor as well as deleting the apps from the system and removing the login items it created. The solution is noticeably easier than with some Windows malware that can involve registry editing or launching in safe mode.

A remedy came just as criticisms of Apple’s response to the MacDefender malware were coming to a head. Apple had explicitly told customer support agents not to help remove the software or even to suggest forums and other areas where they could get help. Microsoft and some PC builders regularly offer to help clear viruses and other code, although the much higher prevalence of malware on Windows has made it a more common support problem than on the Mac.

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