Trend Micro, a company that sells software that checks for viruses, spyware and malware, has warned Apple users to be aware of fake Web sites offering Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for download.
"Earlier today, Advanced Threat Researcher Feike Hacquebord discovered several fake sites that supposedly give Mac users free copies of the newest version of the Mac OS, Snow Leopard," Bernadette Irinco, Technical Communications writes on the Trend Micro blog.
"However, accessing these malicious sites land users to a DNS changer Trojan detected by Trend Micro as OSX_JAHLAV.K. Once executed, OSX_JAHLAV.K decrypts codes, which include a script that downloads other malicious scripts."
"The said script then alters the DNS configuration and includes two additional IP addresses in its DNS server. Users are thus possibly redirected to phishing sites and other fraudulent sites."
Trend Micro doesn't actually say if these "fake sites" are actually sites at all. Various builds of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard have been available via 'Warez' pirated computer software sites, forums and BitTorrent download, and these can all carry dodgy dangerous extras.
In January a Trojan horse could be found in pirated copies of Apple's iWork, while Snow Leopard now includes some hidden malware protection against malicious software.
This may be a generalisation, but the vast majority of Mac users I've met over the years have been tech savvy, as well as being intelligent, attractive and all-round good guys. Okay, I may jest a little, but I doubt "fake sites" offering Snow Leopard free would fool any of them.
As Apple points out, Snow Leopard takes up less than half the disk space of the previous version, but would still be a significant download should Apple ever offer that option from the great big Mac cloud in the sky. I'd clearly think it odd if Apple was currently offering Snow Leopard for download.
Meanwhile, the £25 tag placed on Snow Leopard in the UK, despite being a heated topic of discussion for many Macworld readers, to my mind, seems a much more attractive price point for anyone tempted by downloading a pirate, potentially malicious, copy online.
In the meantime, the Trend Micro blog recommends Mac users invest in additional security. Trend Micro sells Smart Surfing for Mac software, which the company claims protects your identity and personal data from malicious threats when you shop, bank, or surf online.