Intego: Fake AV Targets Macs
Article by George Norman
On 06 May 2011
Fake antivirus applications (fake AV for short; or rogues, or scareware), and I’m saying this to make sure that everyone is on board, are applications that claim to be genuine antivirus products in order to scam you out of your hard earned money. Their aim is to scare you into thinking your computer is infected, then ask you to purchase a license to activate the fake AV and remove the infection.

Earlier this week fake AV made the news because security researchers from CA Technologies, IT management software and solutions company with expertise across all IT environments, uncovered a fake AV for mobile that exploited the good name of Kaspersky Lab.


Fake AV once again makes the news because Intego, company that specializes in providing security solutions for Macs, uncovered a fake AV named MAC Defender that targets Macs via SEO poisoning attacks. This means that poisoned results show up when the user performs a search on Google or other search engine; when the user clicks on the poisoned search result, he is directed to a website that displays a fake malware scanner. After the phony scan completes, the user is informed that his machine is infected; JavaScript on the webpage automatically starts the download of a ZIP archive after that.

Once the download completes, if the 'open files after downloading' option is enabled, the archive is decompressed and the user is presented with the setup wizard of MAC Defender. Once the installation process completes, the fake AV will occasionally present the user with a notification that a virus or other security threat has been detected; it will also open adult sites every few minutes, most likely to trick the user into thinking that his machine is genuinely infected.

“This application is very well designed, and looks professional. There are a number of different screens, and the grammar and spelling are correct, the buttons are attractive, and the overall look and feel of the program give it a professional look,” said Intego.

Intego added that a variation of this fake AV called Mac Security has been spotted online. The company’s VirusBarrier X5 and VirusBarrier X6, as well as VirusBarrier Express and VirusBarrier Plus detect the fake AV and its variants.

A video that presents how the fake AV works is available on YouTube here.

Tags: Intego, Security, Fake AV
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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