PoC Macarena virus targets Mac OS X

Security researchers today reported a replicating proof-of-concept virus affecting Mac OS X platforms.

Named OS X/Macarena by Symantec, the malware replicates itself but does not contain a payload. When executed, it infects running files in whatever folder a user happens to be working in at the time, Peter Ferrie, a senior anti-virus researcher at Symantec, said in an advisory.

While the virus is considered low-risk and can easily be removed, its presence is significant because it affects OS X, considered far more secure than Windows.

But Apple users should not take their platform's security for granted, experts said.

"As we said before, the ability to have viruses and all sorts of other malware is inherently available in all modern operating systems, Mac, Linux, BSD included," said handler Swa Frantzen, posting today on the SANS Internet Storm Center website. "It is a warning to get anti-virus protection for those Macs, even if the shopkeeper told you you do not need it, even if there are no viruses in the wild today, even if it's hard to buy it and even if the anti-virus vendors seem not to know what they (are talking) about."

In February, experts discovered what is believed to be the first virus engineered to attack the Mac OS X platform. The virus, named Leap-A, spread via the iChat instant messaging system.

An Apple spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment today.

Click here to email Dan Kaplan.

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