Mac Protector is a distribution/variant of Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef - family of rogue applications that affect Mac OSX. This rogue claims to scan for malware and displays fake warning messages regarding “malicious programs and viruses”. It attempts to scare the affected user into paying for the fake product by displaying adult content, fake scan results, infection messages and warnings. Earlier variants of Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef required the affected user’s Administrator password in order to successfully install on the targeted computer, but more recent variants (as of late May 2011) do not.
Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef has been distributed with several different names. The user interface and other details vary to reflect each variant’s individual branding. These different distributions of the rogue may use various installation methods, with filenames and system modifications that can differ from one variant to the next.
Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef may make a number of changes to an affected system during installation, including the following:
- Adds an icon to the menu bar that displays the rogue application's status, and enables user to access the application
- Creates a login item in the Account system preferences. This enables the rogue application to launch each time the user logs in.
- Creates a number of files - the rogue gathers system information and stores the text files in the root directory, for example:
Dmem.txt – contains default disk space information
Hwuuid.txt – contains the Hardware UUID
Proc.txt – contains a list of all current running processes
See below for an example of the icon used by Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef when distributed as Mac Protector:
It also scans the affected computer and gathers legitimate information from the system which is used in its fake scan results in order to appear more convincing. The following files may be created for this purpose:
~ /Library/Caches/ com.aple.sv.plist
The installer uses a meta-package (.mpkg) which performs the installation of multiple packages. This package serves as a container for the malicious application. The container may generate a unique installer file for every repackage version, although this does not directly imply that the malicious application contained has been modified.
While unable to spread of its own accord, the Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef installer has been observed being distributed via poisoned image search results.
Displays false/misleading malware alerts
Once installed, Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef informs users that scanning is in progress and thereafter displays a fake scan result. It attempts to scare the user by providing false infection reports, and then persuade the user to follow a recommended course of action in order to protect sensitive data (such as the affected user's credit card details). This social engineering technique is used by the rogue in order to force affected users to pay for the fake product; otherwise the installed rogue application continues to remind affected users with its scare-message campaign.
The rogue application attempts to appear as a legitimate security product by displaying the following features in its interface:
- Database update - displays a status message when appearing to load and update the database.
- Control Center – displays information such as security status, license, and feature controls.
- Scan - provides quick, normal and full scan types for the user to choose from.
- System Info – displays a list of running processes, disk and RAM memory usage and license type. This feature also appears to allow a user to kill a process.
- Settings – allows a user to set the application to run on system start. The user may also choose to enable the application to perform background scanning.
- About – provides information about the product, 24x7 email, phone and ticket support and option to purchase serial number.
See below for examples of fake alerts, dialogs and the interface displayed by Rogue:MacOS_X/FakeMacdef when distributed as Mac Protector: