Apple has issued security updates for its OS X 10.6.7 client and Server operating systems which will detect and remove the Mac Defender malware application.
First spotted in early March, the Mac Defender rogue antivirus tool has stepped up its activity in recent weeks.
Often referred to as a 'scareware' application, Mac Defender covertly installs itself on a system and generates a series of phoney security alerts which attempt to trick the user into paying for the software.
Such scareware programs are commonly found targeting Windows users, but Mac Defender is notable for targeting the smaller OS X platform, a relative rarity in the malware field.
The outbreak led to a debate over Apple security, and had many weighing the merits of installing specialised Mac security tools to protect against possible future outbreaks.
Security firm SANS said that the update also highlights the ability of OS X 10.6 to automatically receive signature updates from Apple and protect users from potentially harmful downloads.
"One of the not-much-talked-about new features in Snow Leopard, aka OS 10.6, was a built in anti-virus tool," wrote SANS Technology Institute researcher Johannes Ullrich in a blog posting.
"However, up to now, the tool only looked for a small number of old malware samples, hardly ever found in the wild."
Mac users can obtain the Apple security update through the OS X Software Updates utility or from Apple's download site.
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