Report: Malware of the future will be OS independant

Tue, Aug 25, 2009


The Washington Post reports:

Security researchers increasingly are finding that sites designed to trick the visitor into installing malicious software will serve different malware depending on whether the visitor arrives at the page using a Microsoft Windows PC or a Mac.

Trend Micro researcher Ivan Macalintal recently found a new variant of the dreaded DNS changer Trojan that checks to see which operating system the visitor’s Web browser appears to be riding on, and then offers the appropriate Windows- or Mac-based installer. The malware was masquerading as a pirated version of Foxit Reader and several anti-virus applications.

This follows a similar finding last month by McAfee, which spotted the same tactic being used at sites that try to trick the user into installing a browser plug-in supposedly needed to view online videos: The bogus plug-in was offered as a “.exe” file for Windows visitors, and a “.dmg” installer file for those who browsed the site with a Mac.

Meanwhile, Symantec warned last week that it had detected several blogs that were advertising free, streaming online copies of movies that were just released in the theaters. The lure is once again a fake video plug-in, followed by either a Mac- or Windows-based version of the DNS Changer Trojan.

For years, the Mac has been considered a safer platform than Windows, in large part because the vast majority of malware is written and and targeted at Windows users.  But as malware becomes more sophisticated, will Apple soon lose the security that comes along with low market share?


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