Snow Leopard Malware Targets Apple Users

trojan

Not that any TheAppleBlog readers would ever try to acquire software in a less-than-legal manner, but just in case you know someone who would, tell them to watch out for web sites claiming to bear Snow Leopard gifts.

Like the Adobe Photoshop CS4 and iWork ’09 before it, Snow Leopard now has a super-special malware edition floating around the web. It’s a classic software honeypot scheme: You find a site advertising a free Snow Leopard upgrade, download a disk image file (.DMG), and it unleashes its trojan payload.

Trend Micro is advising folks to avoid any and all sites advertising free Snow Leopard upgrades, since what you actually get is a new variant of the DNS charger trojan known as OSX_JAHLAV.K. The Apple-specific malware, once it makes itself at home on your computer, will redirect your Internet browser to phishing sites and malware-infected web sites. OSX_JAHLAV.K has a particularly nasty trick up its sleeve — it sends you to a site that advertises fake antivirus software that will notify you that you have an infection until you pay to register and have it removed.

Trend Micro’s advice is to pick up its Smart Surfing for Mac malicious URL-blocking software, which will cost you $50 a year in subscription fees. My advice is to think long and hard about how much you’re willing to pay down the road just to avoid spending $29 upfront for the 10.6 upgrade.

No doubt this will give antivirus companies cause to raise the red flags once more, and spout on about how the end is nigh for the days of OS X being the secure choice, but as before, smart browsing and downloading policies are still your best bet for a happy, safe Mac.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Darcy McCarty.

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