How To Protect Your Computer From Mac Defender And Its Counterparts

While it hasn't infected a lot of computers yet, Mac Defender has been making a lot of noise as one of the first major Mac security threats. Here's a look at how to protect yourself from it and avoid it altogether.

Search Before You Download

Mac Defender — now also masquerading as MacGuard, MacProtector and MacSecurity — is pretty easy to avoid. First of all, if you see any offers for either of these applications — don't download them. This is probably fairly obvious, but for the less Mac-savvy who aren't used to virus and malware threats, it's an important reminder. If you don't know what the software is, do a web search for its name and find out whether or not it's malicious. If it is, you're probably not the first one to find out and report it online.

Disable the Automatic Opening of Downloaded Files

If you're browsing the web with Safari you'll want to disable the option that automatically opens your downloads. To do this, go to the Safari menu, choose Preferences, and in the General tab look for an item at the bottom that reads "Open safe files after downloading". This is checked by default. Just uncheck it and you won't have to worry about accidentally opening and installing Mac Defender (or whatever pseudonym it has chosen).

Finally, it's worth keeping an eye on this Apple support doc. While there isn't much information there at the moment, it seems to be a placeholder for Apple's official instructions on the Mac Defender problem.

These are both pretty easy things to do, and chances are most Lifehacker readers are savvy enough to know about them. If you know someone who's got a Mac and might be at risk, be sure to forward this information along.

Mac malware authors release a new, more dangerous version [ZDNet Blog]


    Really, anyone who hasn't been doing this up till now... no excuse.

    (This is hardly the first of its kind. Merely the most publicised. Your Mac has always been vulnerable to infection due to carelessness).

    Where is your god now, Mac people?

      He's kicking the one piece of malware (not a trojan or virus) in the ass.
      Where's the Winblows God? Burried under the 10,000's of viruses and security holes...

        hey guys, sup?

        I meant a real god, not Steve Jobs :B

        But remember, most of the problems with computers are PICNIC: Problem In Chair, Not In Computer. Those 10,000 viruses are installed by people not knowing what junk gets loaded with programs they download.

        Wait until more mac nasties are released, then watch the "I'm using a Mac. My computer is safe" people run around like they've been blinded by a flashbang!

        And to Linux User: nm, wbu m8?

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