Windows malware hiding quietly on Macs
Much of the malware found on Macs is Windows malware. Traditionally, many Mac users have been indifferent about this—they assume that it won’t damage their systems, and may not consider the harm to Windows-using colleagues they might place at risk. But IT administrators running cross-platform environments (or working with partners and customers who use Windows) are likely to see things differently. Moreover, the Windows partitions of dual-boot Macs can indeed be infected, as can virtualized Windows sessions running under Parallels, VMware, VirtualBox, or even the open source WINE program.
Mac users who need occasional access to a Windows program sometimes decide to download it from third parties, and may illegally create a license key using a downloadable generator. By doing so, they often encounter malware such as Mal/KeyGen-M, a family of trojanized license key generators that we’ve identified on approximately 7% of the Macs running Sophos Anti-Virus software.
Another common source of Windows malware on Macs today is fake Windows Media movie or TV files. These files contain auto-forwarding web links promising the codec needed to view the video, but deliver zero-day malware instead. Windows Media files generally won’t run on Macs, but Mac users often torrent these files to improve their “ratios” on private tracker sites, without realizing the contents are malicious. Windows users then attempt to play the videos and become infected.
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