Computer Crime Research Center


First Mac OS virus

Date: February 18, 2006
Source: USA Today

The first worm targeting Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system has surfaced, though it does not appear to be widespread or especially dangerous.

Its emergence, however, could indicate that hackers — who have almost exclusively targeted the much-larger Windows PC market — are expanding their attacks, computer-security experts say. (Related item: Apple hackers encounter a poetic warning)

"This could serve as a springboard for more attacks on the Macintosh because it might spawn copycats," says Ken Dunham, director of information security intelligence at iDefense, a VeriSign company.

The so-called OSX.Leap.A worm is designed to spread over iChat, Apple's instant-messaging system. Security experts call it the first notable Mac worm in several years, surfacing in a forum on the popular MacRumorswebsite on Feb. 13.

When launched, it can damage software applications and the operating system, says Vincent Weafer, senior director of Symantec Security Response.
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