Tens of Thousands of Mac Users Scammed by Fake Antivirus

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Ed Bott, writing for ZDNet, who has been publishing a great deal of information about the MacDefender/MacProtector/MacSecurity fake antivirus (which Intego first discovered three weeks ago). In Bott’s article today, he gives some interesting numbers which help understand how many people have been affected by this fake antivirus:

In the first days after Intego identified the issue I would say 50-60% of calls were driven by Mac Defender.

Now still within the 20-25% range….I think Google may be getting a handle on the gamed SEO placements and poisoned links that started the whole fiasco.

Bott makes some calculations, and comes up with the following:

So how big is the problem? Apple’s silence makes it impossible to know for sure. However, I’m told that the division that handles Mac support calls receives between 10,000 and 20,000 calls a day. If 25% of those calls are related to this issue, which has been going on for 25 days, the total number of customers affected could be between 60,000 and 125,000, and growing.

We’re no longer dealing with simple anecdotes; this fake antivirus has been extremely effective in tricking Mac users.

We’ve pointed out that you shouldn’t enter your password every time it’s requested, which is one way to prevent getting hit by this scam. Another, of course, is using Intego VirusBarrier X6, so you’ll be alerted as soon as it downloads, and it won’t even launch your installer.