Apple has responded to reports that a Trojan Horse has been found in a bogus Microsoft Word 2004 demo. The company issued a statement, suggesting that the Trojan is not a significant threat as it does not propagate itself.

Apple said: "This is not a virus, does not propagate itself and has only been found on a peer to peer network. This is an example of the perils of seeking illegal software."

However, while this Trojan Horse is unable to propagate itself, it is the first example Mac-specific malicious software to emerge following the Concept Trojan Horse identified by Intego last month.

Experts recently predicted an "increased interest in Unix" amongst virus writers, and it is conceivable that this Trojan may be the first of many.

Mi2g's Jan Andresen told Macworld: "mi2g believes that the renewed interest in writing Unix centric malware is likely to mean that at some stage Apple Mac OS X users will also come under malware attack."

He added: "At present there is little evidence to suggest that the carrier technology for spreading Unix malware has been deployed in a capable way. It is not sufficient to have malware code. It is also necessary to be able to distribute it swiftly and to show enough social engineering skills that disguise the malware as a harmless entity so that it can proliferate easily."

This Trojan Horse permanently deletes all the files in the Mac user's home folder. Intego issued a warning regarding the Trojan Horse yesterday after Macworld UK alerted them to the malicious software.

Intego has updated its VirusBarrier X software to address the vulnerability being exploited by a Trojan Horse found in a bogus Microsoft Word 2004 demo.

Other security specialists are understood to be doing likewise.