April 22, 2009

Mac users note new computer virus

Computer hackers have breached the previously pristine territory of Macintosh computers, a U.S. technology security director said.

Kevin Haley, director of security response at Symantec, said the first computer virus known to strike Macintosh computers had been detected in a few thousand Apple computers, CNN reported Wednesday.

The primary defense Macintosh computers have against computer viruses is their relative obscurity, making them less desirable targets for pernicious programs, Haley said.

The bad guys generally go toward the biggest target, what will get them the biggest bang for their buck, he said.

First detected in January, the Macintosh virus called the iBotnet become a popular blog topic after Symantec, makers of Norton anti-virus programs, made note of the development in a Virus Bulletin, CNN said.

We all knew it was going to happen, Haley said. It was just a matter of time, and, personally, I think we're going to see a lot more of it.

Jose Nazario, a senior security researcher at Arbor Networks contested the claim that iBotnet was the first virus designed on a Macintosh.

This isn't the first, he said. It's getting a lot of press mostly because it's Mac and people are talking about how Macs are immune to malware -- and, sure enough, they're not.