Mac virus ‘does not replicate’

Security experts have detected a new virus that affects Apple Mac computers, but say the risk level is very low because it does not replicate effectively.

Security experts have detected a new virus that affects Apple Mac computers, but say the risk level is very low because it does not replicate effectively.

Apple machines have tended to be relatively secure from malware threats, with most malware targeting Windows users. But in September, Apple was forced to release a new version of its QuickTime media player to close security holes.

The new threat, OSX.Macarena is a proof of concept virus that infects files in the current folder on the compromised computer, Peter Ferrie of security firm Symantec warned in a post on the firm’s security response blog.

Macarena “parasitically infects OSX Mach-O format files, without relying on resource forks”, he said. “The virus writer has found a rather unexpected region of memory in which to place the code, along with a way to gain immediate control when an infected file is executed.”

Ferrie added, “There is no payload in this virus—it simply replicates. However, it won't replicate very well, because it is restricted to the current directory.”

Reports of Macarena had come in from just one or two sites, with fewer than 50 infections detected, a Symantec write-up confirms.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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