As the number of people using Apple Macs has started to grow, so has the target profile for Mac OS X, Apple's equivalent to the Microsoft Windows operating system. Now, finally, after years of grandstanding from Apple about how Mac OS X was "immune" to viruses and spyware, a wave of malicious software, or malware, has hit Mac owners.
These Mac-based malware packages are very similar to those which have affected Windows in recent years: they hijack the computer and pretend that there are a multitude of security and operating system errors, while pestering users to enter their credit card details so that the application can "solve" their "problems".
Fortunately, the current generation of nasties can be removed fairly easily. The broader issue, however, is that as Mac OS X becomes more commonplace, more criminal enterprises will start to target Apple users with increasingly sophisticated attacks. While the number of threats remains small, Apple can continue to release individual remedies; however, this approach will not scale well and is therefore unsustainable. Media reports late last month indicated that Apple already loads Norton Antivirus for Mac on its corporate machines; sooner or later everyone else will need to do the same.
In the meantime, if you have a Mac and are concerned about your security, you can install two free utilities which help to combat malicious software and other Internet threats.