Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 09:16

Apple releases security update to stamp out MacDefender malware


The latest security update for Mac OS X can be seen as an indication of just how many people have fallen victim to the MacDefender malware.

Apple released overnight Security Update 2011-003 for Mac OS X 10.6.7, which is aimed squarely at the MacDefender fake AV malware that has been popping up on Macs around the world, most commonly after clicking on poisoned image search results.

The update delivers three new or modified features.

Firstly, installing the update checks for and removes known variants of MacDefender.

Secondly, MacDefender is added to the list of malware detected by the operating system's File Quarantine feature. If MacDefender (or one of the other blacklisted items) is downloaded and opened, the user is warned that it is harmful and should be moved to the Trash.

Finally, daily checks are made for updates to Apple's list of known malware. An opt-out mechanism is provided for this feature.


The update is only available for Mac OS X 10.6.7. The previous two security updates issued this year covered 10.5.8 as well.

Since the File Quarantine feature is part of 10.5 and 10.6, the lack of a 10.5.8 version of the latest update suggests Apple has dropped support for Leopard ahead of the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. While the company doers not make public its formal policy on support for previous operating system versions, it's general practice with Mac OS X has been to deliver security updates for the current and previous major versions.

Security Update 2011-003 can be installed through Software Update or may be downloaded via Apple's Support Downloads page.



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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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