Annoying malware out there, hits Macs as well.

While there have been some proof-of-concept exploits out there, malware that affected the Macintosh operating system has been an extremely rare beast.   A new exploit out there appears to affect both Windows and Macintosh systems equally.  This new one appears to hit Firefox on both platforms.  It may affect other operating systems and browsers as well.  In fact, this post suggests that it will affect Safari on the Mac.

I’ve read about it on a few sites but a concise description can be found at The Register.  The gist is that it affects your computer by taking over the clipboard and permanently implanting the URL of a web site.  The only remedy appears to be to reboot your computer.  There may be other remedies, but a reboot appears reliable and effective.

I haven’t tried to infect myself to see what else can be done.  I generally try to avoid this as I don’t particularly like playing with fire.

One of the recommendations for preventing is by using a plugin for Firefox called NoScript.  I use this myself on my Firefox installations.  It combined with Adblock Plus keep me not only fairly safe, but allow web pages to load a little faster with fewer ads and other annoyances.  The downside is that NoScript itself can be an annoyance.  You have to use its menus to permit sites to run scripts either on a permanent or temporary basis.  It prevents Javascript, Flash, and pretty much any other scripting language out there.  I don’t normally recommend it to others unless they are willing to go through the additional hassle it creates.

Whether you use some kind of protection or prevention software, the big thing to take from this is to browse carefully.  The exploit appeared to have come from ads placed on popular sites that most will not usually think as being a source of bad things.  

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One Response to “Annoying malware out there, hits Macs as well.”

  1. shoregeek says:

    I’ve only had one Mac client complain about anything in their browsers — at most it was “annoying-ware” — massive pop-ups, etc. After running a series of tests on the clients computer I found no evidence of malware/spyware on this clients Mac.

    However, just to be safe, I installed SafariBlock ( and made sure AdBlock was installed for Firefox … along with certain specific Firefox tweaks (beyond the speed tweaks) to make sure nothing was getting into the machine.

    Other than that one client, out of the hundreds I have now (all Mac) I’ve seen no problems of reported Malware/Spyware among Mac users.