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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?