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Cybercriminal’s Group Paid Abundantly to Infect Macs

Dmitry Samosseiko, manager of Sophoslabs, Canada, has disclosed a latest incident which proves growing interest of cyber crooks in Apple's OS X platform. The evidence came into notice with the detection to a group that offered 43 cents for each infected Mac system, as per the news published by The Register on September 24, 2009.

The manager showed his findings in an extensive dialogue carried out to discuss "codec-partnerka" at the Virus Bulletin conference held in the second week of September 2009 in Geneva. The researcher Samosseiko uses the term "codec-partnerka" to portray well-managed affiliate networks which give a small amount every single time their malware is installed on the system of an innocent user.

According to Samosseiko, the group that developed Mac-codec.com website was merely one among the hundreds of "codec-partnerka". However, its strong affection for Mac systems is what that differentiates it from others.

The site endorsed a variety of promotional materials like Mac-based video players and paid the fee to webmasters for every malware installation on the Mac systems that visited their exploit websites. As compared to 50-55 cents fee for infecting Windows-based machines, the codec-partnerka pay a slightly lower fee of 43 cents to infect Mac systems.

Samosseiko said that this offer was given by the group in January and February 2009, but has closed the doors since then. He suspected that targeting Mac platform was not a profitable deal at that time. Mac-codec.com possibly closed as it was not commercially feasible for the criminals to conduct business.

He also commented on the codec-partnerka groups and said that it is not an easy task to infiltrate highly secretive networks. Majority of them are located in Russia or somewhere else in Eastern Europe.

Even though, Mac-codec.com is not active any more, the researcher believes that it is not the end of such bounty programs developed for infected OS X systems.

Meanwhile, referring to the recent surge in Mac attacks, Sophos security researcher mentioned in his blog that rise in the number of financially-motivated criminals keen to infect Windows and Apple Macs at large is bad sign, as Mac users in particular are not equipped with anti-malware protection at all, as reported by Sophos on September 24, 2009.

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