How To Get Rid Of Mac Defender Malware

Posted May 24, 2011

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) brand of computers are not known for being vulnerable to viruses and malware. One recent phishing scam has specifically targeted Mac users by redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites that tells them that their computers have been infected with a virus. The user is then asked to download the Mac Defender anti-virus software to solve the issue. Mac Defender is malware (malicious software). The goal of the malware is to get the user’s credit card information.

The malware is known as MacDefender, MacProtector, and MacSecurity. Soon Apple will be delivering a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware. Below are instructions on how to remove the malware.

How to avoid installing this malware

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. Delete the installer immediately using the steps below.

Go into the Downloads folder or your preferred download location.
Drag the installer to the Trash.
Empty the Trash.

How to remove this malware
If the malware has been installed, we recommend the following actions:

Do not provide your credit card information under any circumstances.
Use the Removal Steps below.

Removal steps

Move or close the Scan Window
Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor
Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector
Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
Quit Activity Monitor application
Open the Applications folder
Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
Drag to Trash, and empty Trash
Malware also installs a login item in your account in System Preferences. Removal of the login item is not necessary, but you can remove it by following the steps below.

Open System Preferences, select Accounts, then Login Items
Select the name of the app you removed in the steps above ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector
Click the minus button
Use the steps in the ?How to avoid installing this malware? section above to remove the installer from the download location.

Note: Apple provides security updates for the Mac exclusively through Software Update and the Apple Support Downloads site. User should exercise caution any time they are asked to enter sensitive personal information online.

[Apple Support]