An employee at one of Apple’s AppleCare call centres has spoken about the recent rise in malware reports on Apple machines, specifically with relation to the ‘Mac Defender’ trojan.
In an interview with ZDNet, the anonymous employee stated that they had received a growing number of calls from Mac users who had been infected by the malware. Mac Defender takes the form of ‘pesterware’ anti-virus software, which gives repeated alerts informing the user that they must purchase a full version – by entering credit card details, naturally – in order to get rid of a malware infection.
In the case of Mac Defender, if the user refuses to enter their details, the software pops a number of inappropriate images up on screen.
“We started getting a trickle of calls a couple weeks ago,” said the employee. “However, this last week over 50 per cent of our calls have been about it. In two days last week I personally took 60 calls that referred to Mac Defender.”
Disturbingly, the employee also revealed that AppleCare employees are not supposed to help users remove malware from their devices.
“Our notice for Mac Defender is that we’re not supposed to help customers remove malware from their computer,” he told ZDNet. “The reason for the rule, they say, is that even though Mac Defender is easy to remove, we can’t set the expectation to customers that we will be able to remove all malware in the future. That’s what antivirus is for.”
When asked what advice he gives to users, the employee responded: “That even though they’re using a Mac, they need anti-virus and anti-malware. We give them links to Norton, McAfee, and Sophos.”