October 25, 2004 6:20 AM PDT

Mac users face rare threat

A script-based threat that spies on Mac users caught the attention of some security watchers last week.

The malware, which has been dubbed Opener by Mac user groups, has the potential to disable Mac OS X's built-in firewall, steal personal information or destroy data. At the moment, however, it seems to pose little danger.

Security experts say those threatening traits are common among the thousands of online threats targeting Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system but are virtually unheard of on Apple Computer's Mac OS.

Paul Ducklin, Sophos' head of technology in the Asia-Pacific region, said that the software, which Sophos calls Renepo, is designed to affect Mac OS X drives connected to an infected system and that it leaves affected computers vulnerable to further attack.

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