Apple silently includes malware prevention update in Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“Apple silently updated its Snow Leopard malware protection in this week’s Mac OS X 10.6.4 update, targeting a Trojan that disguises itself as iPhoto,” Katie Marsal reports for AppleInsider.

“Though the new protection wasn’t specifically listed in any of Apple’s documentation accompanying Mac OS X 10.6.4, security firm Sophos discovered the update in the XProtect.plist file, which contains signatures of potential Mac threats,” Marsal reports. “The new threat, dubbed HellRTS by Apple, has been distributed by hackers since April in the form of iPhoto.”

Marsal reports, “Referred to as OSX/Pinhead-B by Sophos, the Trojan monitors browser activity unbeknownst to Mac users. It also makes a machine remotely accessible to the attacker, who can take complete control of the computer.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Richard V.” for the heads up.]


  1. I posted the following on in response to the same article:

    Neither I nor the vast majority of Mac users claim that Mac OS X is invulnerable – no OS is perfect. But to assert that Mac OS X has “many weaknesses” and then rely upon the flawed “security through obscurity” rationale to explain the almost total absence of exploitation of Macs in the wild is disingenuous. The small number of potential Mac OS X exploits that have been (over)publicized have generally been of the “proof of concept” variety. The very few actual Mac OS X exploits of which I am aware have all relied upon user installation of application code – that is, trojans. I practice safe computing and no one that I know (including MacDailyNews, which has been baiting would-be hackers for years) has experienced a malware issue with Mac OS X since it was released about a decade ago.

    Similarly, I take any statements from anti-virus software vendors such as Symantec with more than one grain of salt. They have made a living feeding off of the weaknesses of the Windows environment over the past two decades, and they would like to make more money from Mac users. In my experience, their software seriously degrades the performance of a personal computer, and I refuse to let them profit from FUD.

    I will address security issues with Mac OS X when/if they arise. I also maintain two types of backups, including offsite. In addition, having Symantec or some other anti-virus application on my computer is certainly no guarantee of safety. Most anti-virus software is predominantly reactive, not proactive.

  2. @ Im a PC:

    Do you know anything about computers? ANYONE on ANY SYSTEM can get a trojan on their computer. It comes from a user consciously opening a file, often illegally pirated software, that purports to be one thing but is in actuality something else, thus the reference to a “Trojan (horse)”. It depends on the gullibility, ignorance, or stupidity of the end-user, something PC users are very familiar with. Macs CAN get viruses but generally don’t, most specifically because Mac OSX is built on the Unix kernel, which is one of the oldest and most secure operating systems available. Excuse me if I seem bitchy about this, but if you’re coming to this site just to drop your little Microsoft links into the discussion, you just flat out kiss my ass. Move on, douchebag. Come back when you get a clue.

  3. > targeting a Trojan that disguises itself as iPhoto

    Don’t be downloading a pirated copy of iLife! Or any pirated software… It’s one of the few ways you can get malware on your Mac.

  4. Guess you just can’t stop an idiot user from installing dodgy software, even by making them type in a password to do so. Guess idiocy just won’t be denied- so apple is looking after the more idiotic of its user base. Guess that’ll annoy the fanboys, learning that all apple users aren’t the intellectual elite they may delude themselves into thinking they are. Nonetheless, OSX is a waaaaay better choice than windows.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.