Microsoft detects new malware targeting Apple computers

Apple users should be sure their Mac version of Office has up-to-date patches

Microsoft has detected a new piece of malware targeting Apple OS X computers that exploits a vulnerability in the Office productivity suite patched nearly three years ago.

The malware is not widespread, wrote Jeong Wook Oh of Microsoft's Malware Protection Center. But it does show that hackers pay attention if it's found people do not apply patches as those fixes are released, putting their computers at a higher risk of becoming infected.

"Exploiting Mac OS X is not much different from other operating systems," Oh wrote. "Even though Mac OS X has introduced many mitigation technologies to reduce risk, your protection against security vulnerabilities has a direct correlation with updating installed applications."

The security update that Microsoft released in June 2009, MS09-027, addressed two vulnerabilities that could be used by an attacker to gain remote control over a machine and run other code. Both vulnerabilities could be exploited with a specially-crafted Word document.

The exploit discovered by Microsoft doesn't work with OS X Lion, but does work with Snow Leopard and prior versions. Oh wrote that it is likely attackers have knowledge about the computers they are attacking, such as the victim's operating system version and patch levels.

The malware delivered by the exploit is written specifically for OS X and is basically a "backdoor," or a tool that allows for remote control of a computer.

Microsoft advised those who use Microsoft Office 2004 or 2008 for Mac or the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac to ensure those products have applied the patch.

"In conclusion, we can see that Mac OS X is not safe from malware," Oh wrote. "Statistically speaking, as this operating system gains in consumer usage, attacks on the platform will increase."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?