Apple: We’re Nuking Mac Defender From Orbit. It’s The Only Way To Be Sure.

Apple: We’re Nuking Mac Defender From Orbit. It’s The Only Way To Be Sure.

In a contentious move, Apple has been telling its official support reps not to remove the Mac Defender malware from users’ machines. Now that policy is starting to make more sense: Apple doesn’t want support reps removing the malware from Macs because they’re releasing a software update that kills Mac Defender automatically.

According to a new Apple Support knowledge base article:

In the coming days, Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware.

It is expected that this security patch will be baked into Mac OS X 10.6.8, which should be coming down the pipeline pretty soon. In the meantime, to protect yourself from Mac Defender, follow our how-to guide.

An interesting move by Apple, but we’ve got to ask: by specifically nuking one malware program from orbit, is Cupertino setting the expectation that they will similarly address other malware variants in the future? Apple could be opening up quite the can of worms here. What do you think?

  • davidk

    Serves as a warning to future attempts:  Mess with us and we’ll come after you hard.  Wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t pursuing legal options too.

  • Mo

    Props for being proactive enough to sort the issue themselves rather than asking customers to spend money on an antivirus program. Would they do this for every new malware that came out? If malware comes out at the speed of 1 program a decade then I’m sure they will be than happy to help :)

  • DRM Free

    Yes, my sentiments exactly.

  • Haymoose

    What is Ed Bott going to write about on Thursday, then?  Gees, Apple sure knows how to kill a good high.

  • cheesy11

    im happy apple are deciding to look after their customers instead of giving out a diy toolkit

  • Daibidh

    The squeaky wheel DOES get the grease.  Did anyone notice it was attached to the short bus?!  I’m too bored to care looking but what’s the projected scope of this perceived malware holocaust?  A few thousand users?  Out of how many?

  • randall

    Exactly what I was thinking. One thing I love about my Mac is that I’ve never felt the need to spend extra money on antivirus programs, and doubt I ever will. I love that they can find a way to get rid of malware and actually execute it.

  • iHate_Is_Back

    ……..
    ………..
    Who are they going to go after, it’s a malware program that’s been propagated via the internet.Nobody even knows where it originally came from or who created it.

  • mahimahimahi

    I think apple should do this with every threat. It would make the Mac way more safe. It wouldn’t hurt.

  • avonord

    Getta love the quote from the Alien :)

  • Phil

    Give ‘em hell boys!

  • Bozster

    LOL at that screenshot.. So now Macs are getting invaded by viruses.. 

    And LOL at Apple.. good luck manually removing every malware with an OS update. You do realize that there are tons of other trojans out there for OSX, the fact that they are just doing this one is a joke. They are just dealing with the biggest PR nightmare they have now but OSX is becoming invaded by viruses as we all knew it will. 

    Good luck at ignorant Apple users being falsely luled into safety by telling htem they will never be able to get viruses.

    Here’s an advice.. Get yourself a good virus program Mac users because you are not more safe than on Windows. I would like to see Microsoft releasing commercials now making fun of OSX and it’s users dealing with viruses and malware like this. 

    It’s too funny.

  • Steve King

    Assuming all users install the OSX update. Those who are less competent with computers (and therefore those who are likely to get themselves into this mess) tend not to download updates. If this really is Apple’s long term plan then they will have to start updating silently and more often. Which, so long as that doesn’t include automatic garageband updates, is fine by me.

  • Charles Lowndes

    @ Bozster

    I’m an Apple user, I’m not ignorant, nor am I arrogant. I have had antivirus on my machine for years. 

    However if I may make the following points.
    1. I don’t want to inadvertently pass viruses or malware to my Windows using friends, so I use Antivirus software, you can only get this malware if you, Download it, Install it, then authenticate it.

    2. Malware has always existed for OS X, however you seem to be confused as to what is a Virus and what is Malware, go look it up.

    I would like to see Microsoft making funny and original adverts. Poking fun at Macs if they are better at a certain thing is fine by me. I think poking fun at Macs around virus’ may not be the smartest move made by the giant photocopying Redmond though….

  • Kendall Tawes

    While it is true that Mac users should use some sort of antivirus the whole premiss that Microsoft should release adverts about Mac users dealing with malware is laughable. I service Windows and Macs professionally and I have yet to have a client infect one of their Macs but about twice a week I find a Windows computer that can’t boot because of viruses. Don’t even get me started on the crapy disk I/O or daft ideas like Super Fetch and UAC. Windows 7 is a polished Vista and XP is as old as dirt.

  • Rdh

    Well they had to download and install the malware so theybshould be able to do the update.

  • cheesy11

    stamp out the bugs i say

  • Ljlocke

    Apple has the resources and ability to develop and provide anti-malware/virus software, why go 3rd party

  • Bob Forsberg

    If a thief enters your house and you blow his head off with a shotgun, then your pit bull drags his body parts outside for the garbage collector, why would that be opening a can of worms for the next thief?

  • Mamaia

    Why so angry? People don’t buy mac’s because that “no-viruz-story” and not because they are “best or…”.
    It’s an option, like win, linux etc…

    Get a life dude.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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