Malware on the Mac – beware “Free” screensavers


Intego has announced another piece of Malware that affects the Macintosh. They’ve given it the moniker “OSX/OpinionSpy”. In short, it’s claimed to gather unspecified personal information and transmit it to parties unknown. It’s claims to malware fame according to Intego include the creation of a backdoor into the system, transmittal of personal information possibly including email and credit card information, scanning all files on the system, and updating itself without permission.

Of interest is the preliminary list of apps ( http://www.macworld.co.uk/digitallifestyle/news/index.cfm?newsId=3225415 ). I am not at all surprised that almost all of these apps are screensavers (all of which are produced by 7-art Screensavers). The lone exception is an app (Mishinc FLV Converter) that purports to extract the sound from FLV video files.

Intego, also not surprisingly, says their internet security application will catch this and the other couple of Mac malware items, if it has current (6/1) definitions.

Keep in mind, that these apps are all free screensavers and 1 video converter. Historically, these have been one of the most popular vectors for spyware and adware in the Windows world. Seems the authors believe Mac users are just as liable to go for the free eye-candy.

As I’ve always recommended, avoid free screensaver and free wallpaper/desktop background sites, as well as video codecs/converters that don’t come from sources you’ve vetted and trust. This applies whether you have a Mac or Windows machine.