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!

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.

John E. Dunn

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

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?