World's first OS X virus hits Apple

Apple's Mac OS X software has been hit by a mischievous instant messaging virus -- the first ever to target the platform.

The virus, dubbed Leap-A by anti-virus company Sophos, is said to spread using Apple's iChat IM service, forwarding itself as a file called "latestpics.tgz" to an infected user's buddy contacts.

Clicking on the file allows the malware to install and disguise itself as a harmless-seeming Jpeg icon.

Leap-A is believed to have originally been posted on a website for Apple users, posing as a software update. Although the virus is benign, and is not believed to be spreading in large numbers, it still marks a minor landmark for a platform that has come to be seen in some quarters as immune to such mundane security issues.

"It's probably been written for publicity or as a proof-of-concept," said Graham Cluley of Sophos. "Some owners of Mac computers have held the belief that Mac OS X is incapable of harboring computer viruses, but Leap-A will leave them shell-shocked, as it shows that the malware threat on Mac OS X is real," he said.

Cluley said that some Apple users were claiming that Leap-A was somehow not a real virus because it required the victim to click on the link, an objection he branded as ridiculous. Many PC viruses needed user interaction to set off infection, he pointed out, and this was no different.

Despite being aimed at Apple users, the virus follows broader trends in attempting to spread by way of instant messaging, the new application target of choice. This is seen as a less protected channel, and therefore a point of vulnerability.

Although this is unlikely to be the last virus aimed at Apple users, it has a mischievous old-world feel to it. As with PCs, an increasing number of the platform's security concerns now revolve around exploiting specific software vulnerabilities rather than code that aims to spread mayhem as well as itself.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?