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Security reseacher issues warns against rogue MacSweeper

F-Secure warns of a rogue software application targeting the Mac that purports to clean a user's system.

Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.
Dawn Kawamoto
2 min read

F-Secure is warning Mac users to beware of a rogue software application that is making the rounds.

The application, MacSweeper, purports to clean a user's Mac, but in reality will "always" claim to find something wrong with a user's system and seek payment to remove the unwanted file or spyware, security researcher F-Secure noted in a blog posting Tuesday.

"It's a scam...when you visit the MacSweeper Web site with a PC and click on "Scan", it will tell you that you have security vulnerabilities in folders that only exist on a Mac like system_root/home. Fake? Oh yeah," according to F-Secure.

F-Secure also points to MacSweeper's company description, which is an exact copy of the description posted on the Web site for security titan Symantec.

Users who stumble across the MacSweeper site and download and run its security scan will always find something that it claims needs to be removed, Patrik Runald, an F-Secure security response manager, said in an e-mail interview.

When users click on the "remove" button, MacSweeper will ask them to buy the product, a "lifetime" subscription for $39.99.

"Considering the nature of the product, I wouldn't recommend anyone to give away their credit card details...While you might get a keycode, there's no telling what they will use your credit card details for in the future," Runald notes.

MacSweeper marks the first time a rouge cleaning tool has been developed and targeted to Mac users, indicating the platform is gaining enough users that it is catching the attention of malicious code writers, according to F-Secure.

Others have raised questions about MacSweeper, as well, according to a forum post on Mac OSX Hints.