F-Secure is reporting on the first, widespread rogue Mac application that comes in the guise of security software: MacSweeper. It is hosted at www.macsweeper.com, but I do not recommend visiting that site. I’m not convinced this is the first rogue Mac application ever to hit the internets, but the F-Secure folks are top-notch researchers who keep better tabs on such minutiae than I.
The software purports to be an Ad Aware-type application (that’s a Windows product) and manages to always find a problem on each scan. Freeing your system from those evil discoveries will cost you, though, and the software is almost impossible to remove. While long-time OS X users will probably not be enticed to run such software (since they “know Macs are so secure”…right), recent Windows converts are used to having to run these types of programs on almost a daily basis and are much more likely to fall prey to this attack vector.
Perhaps the saddest part of this discovery is what the F-Secure researcher heard when talking with a journalist:
“I visited the macsweeper.com website. I know I probably shouldn’t have but I used a Windows PC so I knew I wouldn’t get infected.”
Remember to always double-check the reputation of a company and a piece of software before downloading/installing and make sure you are running with some type of anti-virus program since we can expect more reports of these types of rogue Mac applications as the year progresses.