Mac users beware: a rogue system cleaner calling itself “MacSweeper” has recently surfaced. Although it doesn’t really do anything malicious, once installed, it can be really difficult to remove.
MacSweeper claims to scan the system and report any privacy violations. It does find plenty of these “privacy violations,” but to remove these violations, one has to purchase the full version of the software.
If you’re a Windows user, a scenario such as this may sound all too familiar.
There is a legitimate Mac Sweeper (yes, two words). The sceenshot below from Softpedia shows a window from the real one:
The fake MacSweeper (one word here), on the other hand, has an interface like the one below:
Clicking the Purchase button takes the user to this page:
What’s even more suspicious is that a visit to the product’s Web site initiates an online scan and releases vulnerability reports in folders that exist only in Macs — even if you’re browsing using a Windows machine.
The Web site also gives an abstact of the company’s profile, which should actually be believable, if it wasn’t obviously copied and pasted straight out of Symantec’s site — and just more recently, out of Kaspersky’s site as well.
Trend Micro detects this rogue app as OSX_MACSWEEP.A.
The rising popularity of Macs may be luring malware authors to test profits on these platforms. Tides are turning and what many security experts have predicted are coming true: the days of malware-free Mac are numbered.