Virus Infects Second Pirated Mac App

Dennis Faas's picture

A security firm is warning Mac users to steer clear of pirated versions of Photoshop after discovering a virus in a version available for illegal downloading. It's a variant of the same virus that hit pirated copies of iWork last week.

This version of the virus works in an even more sneaky way -- it isn't in the program itself. Instead, it works because Photoshop is available to download in full as a time-limited free trial. The pirated copy includes all the original files, but also has an application known as a 'crack', designed to remove the time-limit and leave users with a fully-functioning program.

Crack Kills

However, when the user runs this crack, they get what appears to be a legitimate system message asking for a user name and password. This allows the virus to embed itself deep in the machine and gives the creators some control over the system, including the ability to download more rogue applications. It even contacts the creators through the Internet to let them know it's activated.

Intego, the firm which discovered the virus, says more than 5,000 people have downloaded the pirated version and could now be affected. It's also found that some machines with the virus have already been hijacked for use in denial of service attacks. That's the computer equivalent of repeatedly phoning a company until you jam its switchboard and leave it unable to communicate.

In its warning, Intego reiterated the importance of avoiding pirated software. It says that since its much-publicised warnings about a similar virus in iWork last week, more than 1,000 people have downloaded the specific copy of the software which triggered the alert. (Source:

The creators of the new virus (which Intego has dubbed OSX.Trojan.iServices.B have even set the virus up so that the key rogue files have a randomly-selected name every time. This makes it much harder to manually detect and remove the virus, though Intego says its anti-virus products will cope with the problem. (Source:

The scares come just a month after Apple briefly posted, then removed, a warning that Mac users needed to install anti-virus software.

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