Apple has fought back against the Mac Defender malware with a fast update to its Snow Leopard XProtect security engine.
The company released a security update following the increasing spread of the Mac Defender malware, but a new variant appeared within hours that bypassed the new filters. Apple has now updated XProtect again to block the new code.
The SANS Institute has confirmed the update, and said that any future malware signatures added to the engine will be easy to recognise.
"OS X heavily relies on XML files for configuration. These 'plist' files are easy to read," said SANS chief research officer Johannes Ullrich. "The same is true for the XProtect configuration, which includes the currently valid signatures."
Mac Defender purports to be a security suite that has detected a virus on the user's machine, similar to malware now endemic in the Windows computing environment.
The so-called 'scareware' offers to remove the virus for a fee, and flashes up pornographic images on infected systems until removed.
The spread of Mac Defender has been seen by some as a wake-up call for Apple and its users, and the company appears to be quietly hiring security experts to beef up product security.
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