Security firms differ on severity of new Mac malware threat

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While a new piece of Mac malware is on the prowl, the threat it poses may be overblown, according to one security firm.

Boonana is a Mac version of the Koobface worm, which itself is a maliciously crafted Java applet that infects users via messages on social networking services like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as other sites. The messages often contain the subject line “Is this you in this video?” along with the infected link.

While SecureMac contends that Boonana is a “Critical” risk, security firm Intego—which says it has been monitoring the malware for some time—deems it only a low-risk threat, due to the fact that the implementation of the malware program is itself flawed and many of the remote servers it seems to rely on are inactive.

In addition, Mac users will be presented with a Java security alert the first time the applet attempts to run, at which point they can deny it access, preventing the Trojan horse from installing. (Also, clicking the Show Details button on the alert will display an untrusted digital certificate signed by PhotoAlbum.)

While the order of the day is always to be careful about what links you click on, concerned Mac users can take further steps such as disabling Java in Safari’s Preferences -> Security or using products such as Intego’s VirusBarrier and SecureMac’s MacScan that will help protect users or remove an infection.

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