New Mac Virus Targets Porn Surfers

SAN FRANCISCO — Adult webmasters and consumers of adult entertainment should take note: using a Mac is no guarantee of safety against viruses.

A new virus targets online porn hunters. It prompts users to download a free video player, but instead it delivers a payload of malicious code, according to Mac security software vendor Intego, which first reported the virus in an alert posted Wednesday.

“A malicious Trojan Horse has been found on several pornography web sites, claiming to install a video codec necessary to view free pornographic videos on Macs,” Intego stated in its alert. “A great deal of spam has been posted to many Mac forums, in an attempt to lead users to these sites.”

Internet technology expert Brandon Shalton told XBIZ that Mac users should be prepared for more attacks.

"Mac folks always were so proud of the fact that Macs didn't have as many viruses," said Shalton, founder of the traffic analysis service T3Report.com. "Well, look at the proportions of Windows-based [computers] versus Mac, and the numbers explain why windows gets targeted more. There are more people to target. The virus writers want to do a lot of damage for whatever their benefits are, so you go where the masses are. Now, I think the virus writers probably see Mac as a challenge."

Once installed, the virus morphs into a phishing machine, stealing the user's personal information and passwords while directing the user to fraudulent phishing websites and hitting the user with unsolicited pop-up ads.

The good news is that the virus depends on human gullibility to proliferate – it doesn't exploit a vulnerability in the Mac OS, unlike the first recorded Mac virus, which used Mac's iChat program as a dispersal mechanism.

Windows is still the dominant player in the home-computer market, with more than 90 percent of the market share, but Apple's market share has grown from 2 percent to 8 percent. That success will inevitably bring more threats, according to Internet analyst Bojan Zdrnja.

"Mac users should not think they are invulnerable just by using a Mac and that they can click on absolutely everything," he said.

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