Apple Acknowledges Mac Defender Malware, Promises Mac OS X Update

Apple acknowledged in a statement that Mac Defender malware, a phishing scam that tries to trick users into giving their credit card information, could have affected between 60,000 and 125,000 users. The company posted a new support document providing users with information as to how the malware can be identified and removed and noted that Apple will also issue a Mac OS X update to resolve the issue.

"A recent phishing scam has targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus," the press release from Apple said. "The user is then offered Mac Defender "anti-virus" software to solve the issue. This "anti-virus" software is malware (i.e. malicious software). Its ultimate goal is to get the user's credit card information which may be used for fraudulent purposes."

Apple also provided step-by-step instructions on how to avoid or remove the malware, and promised a software update in the next few days.

"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 document said. "The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware."

Apple's release comes shortly after the Mac Defender malware issue first started to spike. At the time, the company told support staff not to help customers who came to them with the malware, or even to admit to the existence of such malware.

Read full instructions on how to avoid or remove Mac Defender malware here or on TUAW here.