A new Mac malware threat has been discovered. The OSX/Crisis Trojan is an insidious clever threat. Mac users should take steps to defend against this new malware, and proactively defend against future threats while they’re at it.
OSX/Crisis is uniquely sneaky. First of all, the malware is cross-platform. It identifies the operating system, and executes different instructions depending on whether the target is a Windows or Mac OS X system. The malware is capable of infecting OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” and OS X 10.7 “Lion” systems without requiring a password, or any user intervention.
Once it infiltrates the system, it exhibits different behavior depending on whether or not it has Admin level privileges on the target. OSX/Crisis is exceptional in its ability to adapt on the fly to attack a broader range of targets.
Curtis Fechner, Webroot threat research analyst, explained, “We've been looking at this and it's quite complex, as well as fascinating. I think the most important opinion we've formed is that we see more threats for the Mac platform like this one on the horizon.”
Andrew, director of security operations for nCircle, declared, “Mac malware is no joke. Despite Apple’s marketing hype about security, it should be obvious to everyone that their devices are susceptible to malware. Earlier this year the Flashback Trojan infected hundreds of thousands of Macs. The new OSX/Crisis malware is another Apple wake up call.”
At this point it would be cliché to echo the same ominous warnings that are issued every time a new malware threat targets Mac OS X. I think all but the most naïve of Apple users understand that the days of security by obscurity are over, and that the OS is not invulnerable to attack.
For many Mac users, though, there is still a disconnect between realizing that the threat landscape has shifted, and actually doing something about it. Mac users need to embrace the mindset that has been conditioned into Windows users over time, and install antimalware and other security tools to proactively protect against new attacks.
Dave Marcus director of advanced threat research & intelligence at McAfee Labs, sums it up. “Apple users should consider themselves fully on notice: their Macs can be infected like any other device and they MUST take appropriate countermeasures by installing anti-malware solutions and practicing safe browsing habits.”
Storms agrees with Marcus. “Mac users are going to have to learn to be more security minded and Apple needs to step up and offer users practical, effective security support.”