Apple Posts Steps for Removing Mac Defender Malware, Fix Coming

Apple has published tips to Mac users for avoiding the Mac Defender malware currently in circulation, and the company has promised an update to Mac OS X, ” that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants.” In a KnowledgeBase support article, Apple also included step-by-step instructions for removing the malware if it does get installed.

Mac Defender is a fake anti-virus piece of malware that tries to extort credit card numbers out of Mac users by creating phony problems on their system (read more in our original coverage). The malware first came to light with a security alert from Intego earlier this month, and has made headlines since because Apple didn’t appear to be acknowledging the malware, and then reportedly instructed support reps not to remove it from infected systems. Tuesday’s KnowledgeBase article appears to address these criticisms.

“In the coming days,” the company wrote, “Apple will deliver a Mac OS X software update that will automatically find and remove Mac Defender malware and its known variants. The update will also help protect users by providing an explicit warning if they download this malware.”

The KBase support article also listed nine steps for removing it if you did install it:

  • Move or close the Scan Window
  • Go to the Utilities folder in the Applications folder and launch Activity Monitor
  • Choose All Processes from the pop up menu in the upper right corner of the window
  • Under the Process Name column, look for the name of the app and click to select it; common app names include: MacDefender, MacSecurity or MacProtector
  • Click the Quit Process button in the upper left corner of the window and select Quit
  • Quit Activity Monitor application
  • Open the Applications folder
  • Locate the app ex. MacDefender, MacSecurity, MacProtector or other name
  • Drag to Trash, and empty Trash

In the meanwhile, look for an update to Mac OS X in the near future.