One of the selling points of Apple's Mac computers has long been that they tend to be less susceptible to viruses and other malicious software. Well, any rational person must understand that Macs are just as susceptible to malware as any other computer, it's just that the target for malicious hackers is smaller with Macs, and the hackers tend to go after Windows which has historically had many more users. But, malicious hackers are indeed targeting Apple's Mac OS X, as a recent outbreak of malware proves. Macs are computers. Evil people write malicious code. People click on bad stuff sometimes unknowingly and Macs execute code. But, what's particularly troubling is Apple's attitude towards the threat of malware on Mac OS X.
According to a recent article, Apple has told its AppleCare representatives to not help Apple customers remove malware following a recent outbreak of MACDefender / Mac Security malware programs on Mac OS X. Part of a memo from Apple to its employees reads, "Apple does not provide support or assistance in removal or diagnosis of malware." In fact, the Apple memo says to its employees, "You should not confirm or deny whether the customer’s Mac is infected or not." Nice.
I wonder how long Apple will continue to stick their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that Macs are impervious to malicious software. I predict that at some future date, Apple will actually take a more active role in Mac OS X security, and perhaps follow the same path that Microsoft did with Windows in providing robust, integrated antivirus software into the operating system. In the meantime, use an antivirus program for Mac OS X to be on the safe side.
UPDATE: Apple has acknowledged the malware, provided a link on how to avoid or remove Mac Defender, and has issued a security update to Mac OS X to remedy the threat.