Apple has seen more malware incidents this year than many previous years’ put together. It was only a matter of time before leading online virus scanner – VirusTotal opened its doors for Mac users to check for malware among their files.
Google’s VirusTotal is now offering support for malware detection in OS X files including Mac-O executables and DMG or ZIP files that contain Mac OS X apps.
The free online virus scanner is a favorite among end-users as well as white hats and malicious authors of malware who predictably use the scanner to see if their malware evades detection. The online virus tools routinely scans over a million files every day, a quick look at their most recent statistics reveals.
The service implements a sandbox to check programs for malware through various virus definition engines. Despite the novel service, it is possible that seasoned black hats will code their malware with evasive capabilities that often slip away unscathed from basic sandbox environments. The very notion of a sandbox may lead a capable malware to be dormant with the lack of a trigger, biding its time or completely shut off its malware capabilities to throw security researchers off its scent.
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Karl Hiramoto, an engineer at VirusTotal announced the news in a blog post and noted that users can now can Mac applications on VirusTotal’s website, a new OS X uploader application or VirusTotal’s API. The blog entry included examples of malware strains found in the three different file formats, as shown below:
Although Apple’s software is often and falsely known as a “malware-free” platform, recent malware outbreaks in Apple’s App Store and several malware strains targeting Apple computers have been revealed in recent times. Nevertheless, the service marks a significant milestone for Mac-based malware analysis studies, as end-users will help provide critical data to app developers and Apple’s developers to look into enhancing security measures to combat malware.
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