Dvorak: New Mac trojan is good news; will wipe smug smile off Mac users faces as PC users laugh out loud

“The stories have started to emerge and now the battle has begun. After years of being off-limits to hackers, the Apple Macintosh is now subject to the same sort of abuse that the PC has endured and survived over the years: malware,” John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine.

MacDailyNews Take: This is not the first trojan for Mac, not by a long-shot, nor is it likely to be the last.

“Apple says it will send out some patches this week, but this just marks the beginning of a long battle. It will be ugly, as the platform is largely like the unprotected, the users are clueless, and there is zero resistance within the platform. The few Mac users who survive the barrage will probably be former PC users who are not so easily fooled by fake websites,” Dvorak writes. “That said, a bunch of websites are now injecting code into the Mac to infect it with new Trojans.”

MacDailyNews Take: This being not the first trojan for Mac, Dvorak’s theory that a “long battle is just beginning” has no basis in fact.

Mac users “been trained since birth not to deal with such issues by hand. It’s beneath them,” Dvorak writes. “I use AVG as my anti-virus/anti-Trojan product, and when I encounter a website trying to pull this sort of thing, I get an immediate error message and the site is blocked. Currently, the Mac has no such software that I know of, and the user has to hope that Google, some other search engine, or the browser itself has some protection. Good luck with that.”

MacDailyNews Take: This trojan was identified by Intego, a company specializing in Internet security and privacy for Apple Macintosh since 1997. There are multiple AV software packages available for Mac OS X.

Dvorak writes, “PC users will be laughing out loud as this continues because this is just the beginning… While the PC users have literally endured decades of this sort of game playing, Mac users have rarely seen any of it. They have no idea what they are in for. This also makes you ask yourself exactly how well protected smartphones are against attacks like this? You can be sure that the iPhone and iPad are going to be next on the hit list.”

MacDailyNews Take: The only thing you can be sure of is that laughing at nothing is a clear sign of mental illness.

“That said, many in the PC world have warned Apple that its OS is not any more secure than a Windows OS,” Dvorak writes. “And because there is no security infrastructure with scads of anti-malware systems available, the systems are actually more vulnerable.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, multiple AV software packages are available for Mac OS X and have been for years.

“So we’ll see how this situation plays out, but one thing is for certain: the happy-go-lucky Mac owners will end up grumbling about it the same way PC users have done over the years,” Dvorak writes. “And this ‘What? Me worry?’ attitude and smug smile will forever disappear. That’s the good news, as far as I’m concerned.”

Full article – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is nothing more than a trojan. There has never been a Mac OS X virus. Dvorak’s attempt to use a Mac trojan to equate with hundreds of thousands of actual self-replicating viruses, worms, trojans, and other malware on the Windows PC platform is pathetic and likely due to fear of the fact that Mac has outgrown the PC market as whole for 20 consecutive quarters, or the last five years straight. When you work for an outfit calling itself “PC Magazine,” it’s understandable that the fear of becoming irrelevant would be quite strong. It’s sad that such fear produces garbage articles such as this.

What’s ironic is that Dvorak is calling Mac users ignorant while assuming his PC-using readers are ignorant enough to not understand the difference between a trojan and a virus, or think that Mac trojans are nothing new, or believe that Macs don’t have AV software available, or that a single Mac trojan equals the abject security debacle that is the Windows PC.

In closing, with smug smiles still firmly affixed to our faces, here’s our usual oft-repeated reminder for Mac users and anyone who’s trying to use any other platform: Do not download and authorize the installation of applications (Trojans) from untrusted sources. No OS can protect users from themselves (or we wouldn’t be able to install any software). Those who grant attackers access to their computers, should not be surprised to find their computers are compromised.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “kevin p.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
New MACDefender variant, MacGuard, doesn’t require password prior to standard installation – May 25, 2011
Apple: How to avoid or remove MACDefender malware (permanent fix coming in Mac OS X update) – May 24, 2011
MACDefender trojan protection and removal guide – May 20, 2011
Apple investigating ‘MACDefender’ trojan – May 19, 2011
Apple malware: 6 years of crying wolf – May 6, 2011
Is Mac under a virus attack? No. – May 4, 2011
Intego: MACDefender rogue anti-malware program attacks Macs via SEO poisoning – May 2, 2011
Sophos details new Mac OS X Trojan – February 28, 2011
Warning: Mac users beware of yet another trojan masquerading as video codec – June 11, 2009
CNN blows it; gets all worked up about a Mac Trojan that isn’t the first nor is it the last – April 23, 2009
Mac trojan expands to affect pirated versions of Photoshop CS4 – January 26, 2009
Intego: Mac trojan horse found in pirated Apple iWork ‘09 – January 22, 2009
New Mac OS X Trojan horse identified – June 23, 2008
Mac OS X Scareware trojan ‘MacSweep from Imunizator’ tries to scam Mac users – March 29, 2008
Mac trojan makers churn out slightly modified versions to evade anti-malware detection – November 08, 2007
Mac DNS Changer Trojan [OSX/Puper] relatively simple; works like the Windows version – November 01, 2007
New Mac OS X Trojan warning – February 16, 2006
Apple: ‘Opener’ is not a virus, Trojan horse, or worm – November 02, 2004

– – –

The Microsoft tax: Stuxnet computer worm infects Microsoft’s porous Windows OS; Mac unaffected – September 27, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: New undetectable Windows trojan empties bank accounts worldwide; Mac unaffected – August 11, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Windows zero-day flaw exposes users to code execution attack; Mac unaffected – August 09, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Critical flaw lets hackers take remote control of Windows PCs; Mac unaffected – August 07, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: New attack bypasses every Windows XP security product tested; Mac unaffected – May 11, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: McAfee correctly identifies Windows as malware; Macintosh unaffected – April 21, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: DNS Windows PC Trojan poses as iPhone unlock utility; Mac and iPhone unaffected – April 15, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: 1-in-10 Windows PCs still vulnerable to Conficker worm; Macintosh unaffected – April 08, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: 74,000 Windows PCs in 2,500 companies attacked globally; Mac users unaffected – February 18, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Widespread attacks exploit Internet Explorer flaw; Macintosh unaffected – January 22, 2010
The Microsoft Tax: Windows 7 zero-day flaw enables attackers to cripple PCs; Macintosh unaffected – November 16, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows 7 flaw allows attackers to remotely crash PCs; Macintosh unaffected – November 12, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows virus delivers child porn to PCs, users go to jail; Mac users unaffected – November 09, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Worms infest Windows PCs worldwide; Mac users unaffected – November 02, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Banking Trojan horse steals money from Windows sufferers; Mac users unaffected – September 30, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Serious Windows security flaw lets hackers to take over PCs; Macintosh unaffected – July 07, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Windows Conficker worm hits hospital devices; Macintosh unaffected – April 29, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Conficker virus begins to attack Windows PCs; Macintosh unaffected – April 27, 2009
The Microsoft Tax: Conficker’s estimated economic cost: $9.1 billion – April 24, 2009
Millions of Windows PCs taken over by hackers, including UK and US gov’t machines; Macs unaffected – April 22, 2009
Conficker worm hits University of Utah’s Windows PCs; Apple Macs unaffected – April 13, 2009
Windows Conficker kicks into action, able to steal data from infected PCs; Macintosh unaffected – April 10, 2009
Windows Conficker worm awakens, updates via P2P, begins to drop payload; Macintosh unaffected – April 09, 2009
Millions of infected Windows PCs set to go off on April 1; Macintosh unaffected – March 31, 2009
Millions of infected Microsoft Windows PCs face doomsday on April 1; Macintosh unaffected – March 24, 2009
Windows data-stealing ‘Tigger’ trojan infects stock trading firms; Macintosh users unaffected – March 10, 2009
French navy fighter planes grounded by Windows worm; Mac-based naval systems unaffected – February 25, 2009
Houston courts shut down due to Windows virus; Macs unaffected – February 10, 2009
Windows virus knocks out Vancouver school computers for three weeks and counting; Macs unaffected – January 31, 2009
Massive Windows virus with mystery payload continues to spread rapidly; Macintosh unaffected – January 26, 2009
Massive Windows virus continues rapid spread, also affects Vista, Windows 7; Macintosh unaffected – January 21, 2009
Windows PC worm infection numbers skyrocket; Macintosh unaffected – January 19, 2009
Dangerous new sleeper virus exposes millions of Windows PCs to hijack; Macintosh unaffected – January 16, 2009
Zero-day attack targets all versions of Internet Explorer; Mac users unaffected – December 12, 2008
Windows worm loose on International Space Station; Mac-using astronauts unaffected – August 27, 2008
Microsoft inflicts Internet Explorer 8 Beta; Mac users unaffected – March 05, 2008
Gathering ‘Storm’ superworm poses grave threat to Windows PCs; Apple Macs unaffected – October 19, 2007
Windows virus cripples Florida newspaper; Mac-based publishers unaffected – March 02, 2007
Insidious Windows virus threatens business networks worldwide; Macintosh unaffected – March 01, 2007
Windows ‘Storm Worm’ rages across globe; Apple Macintosh unaffected – January 19, 2007
Sony, Gracenote sound alarm over Microsoft flaw; Macintosh unaffected – September 19, 2006
PowerPoint zero-day attack compromises data in infected Windows PCs; Mac OS X unaffected – July 21, 2006
Windows PC users infected with worm face loss of all Microsoft, Adobe files; Mac users unaffected – January 31, 2006
Microsoft Windows’ Zero-Day WMF flaw threats widespread; Macintosh unaffected – December 29, 2005
Microsoft Windows virus spreads rapidly; Apple Macintosh unaffected – November 28, 2005
Windows users fall victim to huge ID theft ring, 50 banks in danger; Apple Mac users unaffected – August 25, 2005
Quickly spreading Microsoft Windows worm affects CNN, ABC, NY Times; Apple Macintosh unaffected – August 16, 2005
‘Zotob’ worm rapidly infects Microsoft Windows; Macintosh unaffected – August 15, 2005
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005
Microsoft warns of critical Windows flaws; unaffected Mac users just continue working – June 15, 2005
Michael Jackson suicide spam hides Windows virus; Macintosh unaffected – June 10, 2005
Windows Sober.p poised to attack this Monday; Macintosh unaffected – May 21, 2005
Microsoft Windows Sober.P worm shows ‘epidemic’ spread; Macintosh unaffected – May 03, 2005
Anzae/Inzae worm affects all Windows versions after 3.1; Macintosh unaffected – December 28, 2004
Windows Mydoom worm variant spreading in the wild; Macintosh unaffected – November 09, 2004
Windows XP worm speaks to users as it deletes their files; Macintosh unaffected – September 13, 2004
Millions of Windows PC’s hijacked by hackers, turned into zombies; Macintosh unaffected – September 08, 2004
Windows ‘Zindos’ virus spreads, attacks Microsoft.com; Macintosh unaffected – July 29, 2004
New Windows Bagle virus variants spread; Macintosh unaffected – July 16, 2004
Windows Lovegate worm variant renders computers useless; Macintosh unaffected – July 08, 2004
Windows Scob virus collects passwords, financial data; Macintosh unaffected – July 05, 2004
Windows ‘Scob’ virus designed to steal financial data, passwords; Macintosh unaffected – June 26, 2004
Windows users warned of infectious Web sites that take over computers; Mac users unaffected – June 25, 2004
Windows Korgo virus ‘aggressively stealing’ credit card numbers; Macintosh unaffected – June 04, 2004
First Windows 64-bit virus appears; Macintosh unaffected – May 27, 2004
Windows Wallon virus wipes out Microsoft Media Player on infected PCs; Macintosh unaffected – May 12, 2004
Windows Sasser worm mutates, knocks out banks, EC; Macintosh unaffected – May 04, 2004
Windows Sasser worm severely disrupts UK coastguard; Mac users remain unaffected – May 04, 2004
Windows Sasser net worm spreading rapidly; Macintosh unaffected – May 03, 2004
Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Apple Mac-based office totally unaffected by viruses – March 22, 2004
Five new Windows Bagle virus variants break nasty new ground; Macintosh unaffected – March 19, 2004
Windows worm, virus outbreaks intensify; Macintosh unaffected – March 03, 2004
Destructive MyDoom.F virus deletes Windows users’ files; Macintosh unaffected – March 01, 2004
Netsky-D Windows worm spreading; Macintosh unaffected – March 01, 2004
Windows users suffer five new Bagle worm variants; Macintosh unaffected – March 01, 2004
New MyDoom Windows worm deletes random files; Macintosh unaffected – February 25, 2004
Windows NetSky e-mail worm spreading; Macintosh unaffected – February 18, 2004
Windows virus ‘Bagle.B’ spreading; Macintosh unaffected – February 17, 2004
‘Doomjuice’ worm emerges, targets Microsoft; Macintosh unaffected – February 10, 2004
New version of Mydoom Windows virus appears, attacks Microsoft; Macintosh unaffected – January 28, 2004
Latest Windows virus ‘MyDoom’ sets new infection records worldwide; Macintosh unaffected – January 27, 2004
‘MyDoom’ Windows virus spreads rapidly; Macintosh unaffected – January 26, 2004
New Windows worm spreading ‘hard and fast’ worldwide; Macintosh unaffected – January 19, 2004
Florida students patch 360 PCs in marathon session due to Blaster virus; their Macs unaffected – October 01, 2003
Pennsylvania school district’s PCs infected with virus; their Macs unaffected – October 01, 2003
New ‘Swen worm’ masquerades as Windows Security Update; Macintosh unaffected – September 19, 2003
University of Illinois still patching all Windows machines; Macintosh unaffected – September 05, 2003
Montana school district’s Windows computers offline due to worm; Macintosh computers unaffected – September 03, 2003
A tale of two school systems: Windows schools crippled while Mac schools unaffected – August 21, 2003
SoBig virus variant rapidly inflecting Windows machines; Macintosh unaffected – August 19, 2003
Windows Blaster worm to attack Microsoft on Saturday; Macintosh unaffected – August 13, 2003
MBlast Worm spreads through flaw in Windows; Macintosh unaffected – August 11, 2003
Hackers hijack Windows PCs for porn serving; Macintosh unaffected – July 11, 2003
Palyh Worm strikes Windows users worldwide; Macintosh unaffected – May 19, 2003
Microsoft bug exposes millions to attack; Macintosh unaffected – November 20, 2002


      1. … OK, he’s a butt-head and a hit-whore. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a very minor point hidden within his drivel.
        A lot of Mac users will lose their smug smiles – if only briefly – when they discover they were not well-enough protected. When they discover the foolishness of ‘going commando’. Then they will revise their set-up so they are NOT running User Apps (like Safari) from Admin accounts, are NOT leaving auto-log-in set, are NOT opening ‘Safe’ files, and are NOT doing several other dangerous things.
        Then the smug smiles will return to those faces.
        Then the next round of malware will find the fence a bit higher.
        Then hit whores will have to find another bit of silliness to help generate interest in their pathetic ‘blogs.

        1. Well said but..but. If it didn’t have some merit MDN wouldn’t be so paranoid and vicious. As usual. Like little spoiled rich 10 year old kids. Go ahead MDN, take your ball and go home. Back in your mom’s basement. Dvorak is a nutcase.

    1. I like how MDN love to hate Dvorak. MDN can’t post a Dvorak article without at least 2 pages of comments to follow.

      I think it is hilarious how Mac enthusiasts let John get under their skin. You know he loves every minute of it. Ha ha ha.

  1. MDN,
    Don’t rise to this losers bait. This guy needs to be put out to pasture. I for one am not worried about any of this. Social engineering at it’s worst. Just make sure safe downloads is unchecked, have a password, and do not install anything that you did not intend to, and your fine. This is just FUD by the winblows losers. And may Dvorak be plagued by a thousand viruses!!!

    1. Dumb shit will do as dumb shit do. You can’t help that – it’s human nature. You can’t help that Dvorak knows not what he’s talking about. To compare the frustration of a Windows user who has to reformat his drive to the Mac user who has to only trash the Trojan in the waste bin is quite beyond my ken.

    1. Yep! His AVG software identified it and the 1000s of other viruses that day, and missed about 3,000 more. I am so glad to be over and done with that mess. Except when I have to help one of my friends get rid of some deeply embedded tick-like mess that has secured itself to their M$ garbage. Ooooh wait, we have a trojan… Wow, one?!? really. I got MacScan during some promotion which made it free, I don’t really worry much about whether my Mac is awake to run the scan at midnight on Wednesday or not. Ran it on my Macs a couple days ago… You got it: clean as a whistle. PC users are laughing all right…

      1. It isn’t profitable for hackers to target the Mac OS. It probably never will be because the corporate world likes Windows because it is more permissions-driven from an administrator point of view. And so long as the Mac OS has less market share than any of the Windows OSes (let alone all of the combined), the vulnerabilities won’t be exposed. If the Mac OS was subjected to the same rigors the Windows OS is, Apple would be patching quite a bit.

        The good thing is that the Mac OS will be the underdog for years to come, and won’t have to worry about viruses, trojans, and other unwanted execution as it just isn’t worth hacking.

  2. Those who are most likely to download a Trojan masquerading as an antivirus app are recent immigrants to Mac from the PC world. They are duped by the initial message that their machines have multiple virus infections that only the Trojan can remove. While there are naive Mac users, on the whole it is long term Mac users who are most likely to see the absurdity of the opening ploy alleging infection. Sorry John, wrong again.

    1. Exactly right.

      I have PeeCee owning friends who can’t believe I don’t have virus protection on my Mac. It fills them with horror and if they were recent switchers would be the exact targets of the Mac Defender attack.

      Dvorak is a tool.

    2. @mjrmd
      I agree, the ones who will fall for this malware attacks will be recent Mac converts who were former PC users, not long-time Mac users.

    3. I disagree. In that I was looking up stuff on Google and one of the links directed me to the Trojan. Which proceded to download and try to install. I then said no to the install and trashed the downloaded file then ran Macscan to be sure. No message box came up warning of possible virus’ and saying I should download anything. I think it was hoping not to be noticed. But thanks to being a long time user and being aware of this threat before it hit I am still smiling that it only took about two minutes out of my day.

  3. I think MDN is being overly generous to Dvorak. I say instead of reading the article and leaving a comment, go directly to The PC mag website, email the editor and tell them you won’t read their articles because of the type of misinformation he espouses.

  4. Dvorak must have gotten up on the wrong side of the World knowing he had a deadline. You can always count on John for some of the best link-bait.

  5. There has never been an exploit of a Mac OS X computer without direct contact with the computer and the use of the user’s password.

    There is no guard against operator stupidity. There is no guard against hacking contests that allow direct contact with the computer being hacked.

    Smart users still have a malware free life.

    Did I mention Dvorak is an idiot? I meant to.

    1. agreed.

      Hey Dvorak, how many virus/Malware have you cleaned from your Dell this week?
      I’m still waiting to have to deal with my FIRST ever on my mac…
      the mac defender BS doesn’t affect me, won’t affect me. and 99% of mac users won’t have to deal with it either.

      the recent Windows to Mac users…. thats the target of the malware.

  6. Dvorak does have some good points… MANY Mac users (present company excepted) were drawn to the Mac because they were clueless about computers. They wanted a computer to be an appliance and didn’t want to mess around with it.

    In that sense, a larger percentage of Mac users ARE clueless when it comes to dealing with these kinds of threats and what to do when they hit.

    I know PC users who have suffered through viral attacks and, by necessity, become much more savvy when it comes to the upkeep and installation of anti-trojan software.

    Lots of Mac users, even fairly sophisticated ones… don’t have a clue and don’t think twice about allowing things to be installed on their computers.

    1. Wrong. You must be speaking about yourself.

      You don’t speak for me, or the millions of Mac users around the world. If you even knew a Mac user you wouldn’t even be throwing around words like clueless.

      Mac users are keenly aware of the manner in which their machines operate and the idea a Mac user will accept the notion that their machine has suddenly become infested with viruses is ridiculous on its face.

      Granted, there is a slight percentage of users who have fallen prey to these antics but your sense of problem is so far off base its laughable.

      1. Obviously, you haven’t met my mother. I agree that many do know all about how the machines operate but many don’t. I still maintain Macs are much safer but there are many people that use macs, like my mother has for 20 years, that wouldn’t catch this. She’d likely ask me about it but she might install a trojan thinking it might help. So I think this could be a problem but I do think it’s significantly less of a problem then Dvorak states. Just because Mac users cover the spectrum.

        1. Pc users are certainly not more computer savvy than Mac users. You will have ignorant users operating on either system. But Mac users will have stress free experiences and pc users will have to work around the glitches and many computer infections. Never had an issue in the 15 years of Mac usage and never used a virus protector on my macs either. 🙂

      2. I’ve worked as a cross-platform, primarily Mac Specialist since the mid-nineties, and could never understand why one would willingly choose Windows over a Mac. Sheep-following ignorance was the only explanation. There are many idiots and much user error on both platforms, but like me, you learn most whenever there is a problem. Also- Dvorak is no lone voice- the Apple attacks and hysteria coming from ZNet is repugnant. Check it out.

    2. That kind of applies to every computer user.

      I know mac users who are very technical and smart. A few of my friends got a mac specifically because its UNIX. Kinda nice to have a modern GUI with commercial software and still have the option of pulling up a bash shell and getting dirty.

      I know clueless users on both platforms honestly.

  7. Dvorak is the same guy who just wrote, “Now today we have a series of articles asking to remove Ballmer from the top spot at Microsoft. And replace him with who? The fact is that Ballmer has been a great caretaker for the company and has only failed at getting the stock price to do much of anything.” I vote for Dvorak to be co-CEO of MS.

  8. It was painful. I created a new Admin account, logged in and removed admin privileges from our user accounts. That will lead to a bit more inconvenience, but that’s about it. My wife and I already know not to authorize installation of something we didn’t explicitly intend to install.

    1. Did the same thing-
      3 iMacs and 4 laptops

      – created admin account
      – logged in as the new admin account
      – configured existiing “normal” account as a standard user
      – restarted
      – logged in as “normal user”
      – made sure ‘Open safe files after downloading’ is unchecked
      – Done. Took less than 5 minutes for each machine. Everything still works. Nothing to reinstall.

      you could NEVER do this on a Windows machine without problems.

  9. wiping smile … oops smile still there! option delete smile ,
    “could not delete smug smile smile still in use”

    still smiling !!!!

  10. I have an image of him dancing around a fire, devils horns glowing, just before he is totally consumed and whisked to a place down below. And to think that in the early days of computing he was actually pretty credible. Hoisted with his own petard, I suspect.

Reader Feedback

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