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Snow Leopard sniffs out trojans

While Macs remain a fundamentally and highly secure computing platform, you can never be too careful. Certainly Apple appears to think so, judging by its decision to build protection against malicious software into OS X for the first time.

With release of Snow Leopard on Friday, Intel Mac users will be alerted when certain malicious software attempts to install known trojan infections. At the moment this amounts to two known trojans, according to Matt Gemmell, who has seen the feature in developer builds of Snow Leopard. By no means it a fully fledged anti-virus tool

“Don’t call it anti-virus; it’s not. It checks for two known trojans; that’s it. And only checks certain files too,” he said on his Twitter feed. “It checks for the RSPlug or iServices trojans, and shows [an] alert. Very basic right now, but yes it’s built-in.”

This has been confirmed by other developers, notably Intego, the French maker of Mac security software.

Currently, the only way to get malware onto Macs is to persuade the user to install it, usually by hiding it in an installer for another, apparently trustworthy piece of software. In recent months trojans have been hidden in hacked installers for iWork, Photoshop and QuickTime, which are then distributed illicitly over the internet.

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