A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users, which claimed their computers were infected with a virus. It redirects users to fakes websites to download Mac Defender, suggested to be an “anti-virus” software which in fact is malware. The goal is to get the user’s credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes. Apple officially acknowledged the issue yesterday, and posted instructions on how to remove Mac Defender malware and news on future OS X software update.

MacDefender (also known as Mac Security or Mac Protector) is one of the most clever scams in recent malware memory. Apple has posted a step by step guide on removing this malware on its support web page. The company will also provide a Mac OS X software update soon. The update will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants from users’ computer.

Here is the resolution from Apple’s website:


How to avoid installing this malware

If any notifications about viruses or security software appear, quit Safari or any other browser that you are using. If a normal attempt at quitting the browser doesn’t work, then Force Quit the browser.

In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software.  If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password.  Delete the installer immediately using the steps below.

  1. Go into the Downloads folder or your preferred download location.
  2. Drag the installer to the Trash.
  3. Empty the Trash.

How to remove this malware

If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:

  • Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
  • Use the Removal Steps below.

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

Use the steps in the “How to avoid installing this malware” section above to remove the installer from the download location.

[via Apple]

Grab our free newsletter

Receive our latest articles in your email inbox completely free. Enter your email address below (no spam, we promise!):

We never disclose our readers' information without prior consent.

Tagged with:  

One Response to How to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware

  1. 1

    With a support initiative from Apple regarding how to avoid or remove MAC Defender malware from Mac OS X which will deliver a software update that will automatically identify and remove the dreaded Mac Defender malware and its known variants. Though, this manual removal instruction is a note worthy move from Apple, it is just a short term solution. As the variants get more complex and new malware surfaces, patching up the infected parts is surely a tough task for Apple engineers. Mac Defender is now termed as a Trojan and thus, with more time and intelligence invested, such malwares intrusions shall be terminated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *