The first malware MAC Defender hits Macintosh, and Apple is blowing off users who call for support for the problem. An AppleCare support rep tells blooger Ed Bott that a notice from management tells them that "...we're not supposed to help customers remove malware from their computer." Instead they give users links to Norton, McAfee, or Sophos for Mac anti-malware.
According to the representative, the policy of refusing to help with malware removal is there to prevent a precedent from being set over what AppleCare is there for. Still, the representative found it hard to refuse help in situations such as this:
AppleCare Rep: Well, I'm sure you're aware of what Mac Defender pops up on your screen if you don't buy it. Last call i got before the weekend was a mother screaming at her kids to get out of the room because she didn't want them seeing the images. So, panicking, yes, I'd say that would be the situation usually. I had a teacher call about Mac Defender last week.
Ed Bott: So you are supposed to tell them that the Terms of Service don't allow you to help them remove it, and they should … what?
AppleCare Rep : Well, in the agreement for AppleCare, it does state we don't help with malware. However, just because we're told we're not to help people get rid of it, most of us do.
Ed Bott: Taking a little risk there? i assume your calls are randomly monitored and you could get a warning if someone decides to be a hardass.
AppleCare Rep: Indeed we are monitored, but I can't personally justify telling a father who's freaking out about what his 6-year-old daughter just saw that I can't help him out. Our on-floor managers and QA guys do their best to let it slide, but if they start getting pushed from higher-ups, we could face write-ups and even termination.
"MacDefender, which also goes by other names such as "Mac Protector, Mac Security" is spreading by the usual variety of methods by which Windows malware is spread. In an earlier column, Bott shows a poisoned Google image search that redirected him to "Apple Security Center," one of Mac Defender's aliases. It's a rogue anti-malware product, and a really common problem on Windows. A popup notice tells you that you've been infected and must pay up if you want your system clean. Then it loads up Safari and shows you porn sites. Lovely. Bott also confirms the outbreak by finding over 200 discussion threads on discussions.apple.com related to it."
You can read more about MAC Defender at Microsoft Malware Protection Center.