A malware scam is making its way to a wide range of Mac users recently. It works by putting malicious links at the top of search results and tricks users into accidentally clicking them. After doing so, a fake virus scanner pops up on the screen. It then falsely informs the user of potentially harmful software on their computer and recommends downloading an even more dangerous application: MacDefender. The scam soon gets even worse when it prompts the user to provide credit card information before downloading the fake anti-virus removal tool.
On May 24th, Apple acknowledged the malware scam’s existence and posted a tip on how to remove the virus or just avoid it altogether. It states the following:
If any notifications about viruses or security software appear, quit Safari or any other browser that you are using. If a normal attempt at quitting the browser doesn’t work, then Force Quit the browser. In some cases, your browser may automatically download and launch the installer for this malicious software. If this happens, cancel the installation process; do not enter your administrator password.
Apple has promised to deliver a software update for all Mac OS X users that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender, also known as Mac Protector or Mac Security, within a few days. It will also prevent users from accidentally stumbling onto it.
While these types of threats are relatively new for Mac users, Windows users have been experiencing scams and viruses of all sorts for years now. In fact, this exact type of scam — i.e. one that tricks users into downloading fake anti-virus software — is now almost infamous. Critics have said in the past that as the Mac becomes more and more mainstream, it will begin to face the same issues which have haunted Windows advocates for so long.
As of April 2011, Mac OS X had a worldwide market share of approximately 5.4% according to Net Applications. Windows remains strong at 88.91%, but has declined by about 2.5% in the last ten months while Mac usage continues to grow. At this rate, could Mac users see a rising amount of threats in the future? It is plausible, but still a concept that should be taken lightly.
Links: Apple Support
Mac Defender screenshot courtesy of Ubergizmo.
(Via Skatter Tech.)
When we remarked that home automation technology was a reason we needed iPv6 technology, we weren’t kidding. If Netherlands-based NXP has it their way, we’ll all be using networked LED lightbulbs, each with their own IPv6 address. More »
Home lighting has certainly come a long way since the days of Thomas Alva Edison, and Philips will be part of a watershed moment as they prepare to unveil the world’s first LED replacement for the 75-watt incandescent light bulb at the LIGHTFAIR International trade show. Known as the Philips EnduraLED A21 17-watt light bulb, this will be the maiden LED equivalent to 75-watt incandescent bulbs, and it is touted to be 80% more energy efficient compared to its outdated predecessor. The new bulbs are also marathon runners in their own right, capable of lasting up to 25 times longer compared to standard incandescent bulbs, adding another feather in the cap of LED technology where everyday LED residential use is concerned. Philips can be said to be an old hat in this arena since they are the first company to develop a LED to replace the 60-watt incandescent bulb.
Google has begun testing an integration of voice search with the Google.com search engine.
Helpful tipster Matt Schlicht first spotted the feature earlier Monday afternoon. Voice search detects your computer’s microphone settings and can open up a ‘Speak now’ widget to detect your words and transcribe them into a search query.
Android phone owners should be familiar with Google Voice Search; it’s available in the Google Search widget. Google Voice Search on Android even translates voice commands into actions. For example, ‘Directions to Empire State Building New York’ will get you instant driving directions to Manhattan’s famous landmark.
Google has been working hard on improving the accuracy of its voice search product. It now recognizes Chinese and learns from your speech patterns. Perhaps now Google believes it’s accurate enough to begin testing with the general populace.
Right now, voice search seems to be in a limited testing period. We’ve reached out to Google for comment.
While searching by voice may be easier than typing in some cases, we don’t think you’re suddenly going to see an uptick in people shouting out their search queries. As our tipster pointed out on Twitter today, Google Voice Search ‘works surprisingly well but is very awkward to use in the office.’
What do you think of Google Voice Search? Should Google roll it out on its homepage?
Update: Google’s experiment is confirmed. ‘Google is constantly experimenting with new features,’ was the only thing a Google spokesperson would tell us officially, though.
The Google Voice Search Icon
Google.com users with access to the experiment might see this page the next time they visit Google.com
Google Voice Search Widget
Talking into the mic activates the Google Voice Search widget.
Google Voice Search Results