updated 05:25 pm EDT, Mon September 28, 2009
Part of criminal profit-making scheme
Macs are being deliberately targeted by a Russian hacking group, says Sophos security researcher Dmitry Samosseiko. The group is a subset of a larger criminal network known as the Partnerka, which normally turns a profit through spam promoting fake online drug vendors, and malware in the form of "scareware" anti-virus protection. The Partnerka have generally concentrated malware efforts on Windows users, who together represent the largest possible target.
Mac efforts have similarly revolved around scareware, most recently in the form of fake video players. A defunct Partnerka website, Mac-codec.com, is accused of having paid 43 cents for each computer infected by a hacker. The exploitation of Macs by criminal enterprises may reflect a growing security problem, argues another member of Sophos, Graham Cluley. The consultant warns that many Mac users may have no malware protection in place; others say that even Mac OS X Snow Leopard provides minimal protection.