Apple Responds Quickly to Evolving 'Mac Defender' Threat With Updated Malware Definitions

Yesterday, we noted that the attackers behind the "Mac Defender" malware had moved quickly to combat Apple's new security update, within hours releasing a new variant of the malware that was capable of skirting around Apple's new protection.

macdefender c xprotect

Xprotect.plist before (left) and after (right) latest update to address new Mac Defender variant

Fortunately for users, Apple has moved almost as quickly as the attackers, quashing any potential fears that the company might be slow to respond to each new threat that appears. As reported by Italian site Spider-Mac [Google translation], Apple has already issued an update to detect the new variant, pushing out a new entry for "OSX.MacDefender.C" to the Xprotect.plist file that contains the signatures for identifying malware.

After the update, users are indeed presented with a warning if they begin to download the latest variant:

macdefender mdinstall warning
As part of the security update earlier this week, Apple included a system to automatically update the Xprotect.plist anti-malware definitions every 24 hours, giving the company the ability to quickly push out new protection for Mac OS X Snow Leopard users. While this is unlikely to be the end of the Mac Defender attackers' efforts, it does appear that Apple is committed to responding and issuing updates to its users as quickly as the attackers can churn out new variants.

Top Rated Comments

0815 Avatar
129 months ago
The writers of this malware love to see Apple jumping through the hoops they make. This will on,y get worse with 10.7, as per Apples history, new OSes are filled with bugs and exploitable flaws.

You mean like windows where the general advice it not to install it until SP1 is released?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NebulaClash Avatar
129 months ago
The attackers will always be one step ahead...

But if Apple stays only one step behind and closes the holes within 24 hours each time, the attackers will soon learn that there isn't that much to be gained by the effort. They'll have to try another approach.

You know, this relatively benign malware is, on balance, a good thing. This will educate Mac users not to click OK on software they did not choose to install. So that when something really serious shows up, they will know better thanks to this mild version that is merely annoying.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beg_ne Avatar
129 months ago
The writers of this malware love to see Apple jumping through the hoops they make. This will on,y get worse with 10.7, as per Apples history, new OSes are filled with bugs and exploitable flaws.

Completely irrelevant. MacDefender doesn't take advantage of any flaw or bug in OS X. The only flaw in play here is people's gullibility.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0815 Avatar
129 months ago
I wouldn't be surprised if the entire thing weren't stage-managed by Apple to give them an argument in favour of a move to an iOS-style Mac App Store-only software model. (Jailbreak your Mac, anyone?)

Here we go again - people running out of real arguments against apple clinging to stupid claims like this ....
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cnixon Avatar
129 months ago
You have to install this yourself.... it is NOT a virus... but maleware.

Not sure exactly how OSX is less secure? Maleware has been around for years for OSX.... just don't install the damn thing!

Maleware? What's maleware? Sounds like a line of men's lingerie. :confused:
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
angrynstupid Avatar
129 months ago
Huh?



This doesn't bode well for Lion's release. Even if these threats don't indicate a material problem with OS X, the fact that Apple has been baited into an arms war makes OS X look less secure.

What kind of logic is this?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...