∞ Intego warns of malware in a number of free Mac apps

Security company Intego on Tuesday issued a warning of a new spyware application that is installed by “a number of freely distributed Mac applications and screen savers found on a variety of websites.” Dubbed “OSX/OpinionSpy,” the spyware does a number of things on the users system including recording user activity and sending information to remote servers. The spyware runs as the root user, giving it full system permissions, and opens port 8254 on infected computers.

Intego didn’t specify the apps affected, but said OSX/OpinionSpy was found in some free Mac apps and screensavers. The spyware isn’t contained in the apps themselves, but is downloaded during the installation process.

A version of this spyware has existed on Windows since 2008, according to Intego.

Update: Intego contacted me and said a list of the affected apps will be released tomorrow. 9:25 am PT



  • Ronnie G.

    Informing users about malware on free apps without disclosing apps and providing a solution to fix or clean infected Mac's is very irresponsible and unprofessional. Thank's to The Loop for spreading unnecessary fear!!

    • Eric

      Hey, don’t blame Jim for fear-mongering. At least we know that stuff might (MIGHT) be out there. Forewarned is forearmed, in spite of Intego’s lack of candor and/or jumping the proverbial shark.

      I’m guessing if there’s a good reason for holding the list ’till tomorrow it’s because that would be better than letting out a list that’s incomplete leading to people being misled about what was safe and what isn’t. As well as not announcing false positives that could hurt legitimate software. Better to have one good list rather than two different lists and not knowing which is the more accurate one.

  • JLN

    Without at least describing what these apps have in common in their download/install process, this sounds more like a scare tactic designed to prompt people to buy Intego's products.

  • http://twitter.com/scottaw @scottaw

    "Thank's to The Loop for spreading unnecessary fear!!"

    It's just "thanks" without an apostrophe as it's neither a contraction nor a possessive. And that error was the best part of your ridiculous statement — The Loop is reporting on what Intego reported. They can't report further information until they have it. As such, they presented the story to allow the reader to make up their own mind about Intego's responsibility and motives here.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WandererJoe WandererJoe

      Well said @scottlaw – it seems ignorant people have one thing in common, they put an apostrophe in every time they see the letter S at the end of a word.

  • ScanMan

    Intego has published a list of the applications in question, most of them screensavers from the same source. http://blog.intego.com/2010/06/01/preliminary-lis