Apple posted a short support article late Tuesday called “How to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware,” which provides instructions on dealing with an existing malware infection, and also promises an update in the near future that will automatically seek it out and remove it.
Before the release of the support note yesterday, it was reported by ZDNet’s Ed Bott that Apple support staff on the phone were indicating that they couldn’t provide instructions for dealing with specific instances of malware. The fix is not overly complicated, but explaining it individually over the phone to every affected customer would tie up a lot of customer service agents, and it could set a dangerous precedent for the future treatment of such situations.
The article promises that “Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants,” and that the update will arrive “in the coming days.” Users will also receive an explicit warning notification if they happen to download this malware once the update is installed.
The step-by-step instructions for removing the Mac Defender malware involve using Activity Monitor to kill all running instances of the program and its equivalents (MacProtector, MacSecurity), then dragging the applications to the Trash, and finally, emptying the Trash. Apple also provides instructions for removing the malware’s login item, though the login item is no longer a threat once the application is removed from your system.
Glad to see Apple responding to the valid security concerns of its users. Let’s hope this isn’t the just beginning of the Mac’s serious malware woes.