Experts at SophosLabs, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware
and spam analysis centers, have issued a warning advising Apple Mac
users to ensure they are taking sufficient precautions to safeguard
their computers, as a new Trojan horse for the Mac OS X platform is
Trojan horse is capable of infecting Mac OS X computers, in an
attempt to steal passwords, open firewall to give access to
hackers, and disable security settings.
"It's true that Mac OS X computers are far less commonly
targeted than Windows PCs by hackers and malware authors, but that
doesn't mean that Apple lovers can rest on their laurels and
disregard common sense when it comes to securing their computers,"
Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos. "In the last
twelve months, we have seen growing evidence that cybercriminals
are looking increasingly for opportunities to hack into Mac
computers for financial gain. Although the problem is much smaller
than on Windows, Mac users would still be wise to ensure that they
run an anti-virus, keep up-to-date with security patches, and to
exercise care as to which programs they choose to install on their
The Hovdy-A Trojan horse takes advantage of a recently
publicised vulnerability in Apple's Mac OS X operating system,
affecting its Apple Remote Desktop Agent (ARDAgent), to gain root
access. Once a computer has been exploited, the hacker can gain
complete control of the compromised Macintosh - covering its tracks
by disabling system logging.
"Like many Windows attacks, this Mac Trojan horse relies on the
user giving it permission to install itself. Using social
engineering techniques, the Trojan horse could be disguised as a
game, a video codec, or a handy new utility. Sadly, many Mac users
are just as willing as their Windows-based cousins to install a
program without careful thought as to safety," continued Theriault.
"We are not witnessing a large scale attack by this Trojan, but it
is worrying to see yet more hackers turning their malevolent gaze
to the Mac platform."