Mac OS X users targeted in SMS scam

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Researchers have spotted a fake installer trojan, targeting the Mac OS X platform, which attempts to hit victims with fraudulent charges on their cell phone bills.

The Russian anti-virus firm Dr. Web announced the discovery of the malware, dubbed Trojan.SMSSend.3666, in a blog post Tuesday.

The trojan currently is being distributed only on a popular Russian social networking site, researchers said. It runs as a fake installer program, which prompts victims to enter their cell phone numbers. Once they do, they receive a text message on their phones, which provides them with a special code, which they also enter into the installer.

After these actions are performed, users are automatically locked into a “chargeable subscription,” and the fees associated with it will be charged regularly to their mobile account.

So far, the threat is limited, but notable because it is targeting Mac users, Ivan Sorokin, malware researcher at Dr. Web, said in an email to SCMagazine.com.

According to Dr. Web researchers, there are many "Trojan.SMSSend" fake installer programs are available on the internet. ZipMonster, a malicious program that assists miscreants in creating the installers and delivering payments to the malware authors, was used to distribute the new trojan.

“This method can be used for any other files, and it is widely used for Windows users,” Sorokin said.

To protect themselves, users are advised not to install any programs if they are required to submit their phone number or send a text message.

While this tactic may be the first of its kind for the OS X platform, Apple is becoming an increasing target, as evidenced by the Flashback trojan, which earlier this year infected more than 600,000 machines worldwide, as well as growing, nation-state-sponsored spear phishes.

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