back to article Lame Mac 'email worm' limps into view

Virus writers have created a worm that seeks to establish a botnet of compromised Mac machines. But the Tored Mac worm, which attempts to spread via email, is so hopelessly buggy and lame that it's about as likely to score as Steve Ballmer at an Apple convention. Strains of Mac malware are, of course, dwarfed by factors that …


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  1. RichyS

    Reminds me

    Reminds me of an email I received many years ago:

    "I am an Irish virus, please forward me onto everyone in your mailing list, and reformat your hard drive. Thank you".

    It may have caught a few people out...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Quite sad for the Mac..

    It's so unappealing to competent computer users that it can't even attract negative attention.

  3. Tommy Pock

    Before these comments get tedious and boring

    I'm going to say 'administrative access' and go back to bed. Night

  4. Leigh Smith


    From Sophos - More Information:

    "OSX/Tored-A is written in RealBasic and contains "Infected and boted by OSX.Raedbot.B"."

    Who writes a worm/virus/trojan in RealBasic?

  5. Tony

    Wake up and smell the skinny latte

    No doubt there will be a stream of MAC users laughing at this lame duck.

    However, you should take this seriously.

    Yes, it is lame and badly coded and no threat to anyone. It IS however a sign that nasty people are starting to take an interest in your trendy piece of plastic. Just because this worm is so badly executed it isn't a threat does not mean that they all will be.

    Nearly all the MAC owners I know take no interest in security at all - They still think they are untouchable. Sooner or later someone with a bit more smarts than the idiot(s) that wrote this WILL find a significant exploit and if you are still all still sitting round smugly congratulating each other you will be right royally bumfucked.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Open source viruses?

    How did they get hold of the source code?

    If it's a real attempt to build a fruity botnet, they shouldn't open-source the code.

    If it's a marketing exercise, it should be labelled as such.

  7. Jamie Kitson

    Re: Fail!

    Never mind that, who names their own virus?

    I was also going to add a joke about OS X finally failing on a user interface :)

  8. Martin Edwards


    >No doubt there will be a stream of MAC users laughing at this lame duck. However, you should take this seriously.

    I'll certainly take it more seriously than anyone who writes Mac in all-caps.

  9. Jimbo


    Tony, 200% agree. The best part is that Apple products are one of the buggiest products. Just two examples to illustrate....

    1. yesterday's post on Register about Web Browsers shows that the web browser plug-in with most issues was/is QuickTime

    2. There was Pwn2Own web browsers competition few months ago, Safari went down first and actually 2x for two different bugs

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    mac owners derserve this

    if you are to be taken in by the marketing ploy of apple then you deserve to be bumfucked.

    saying that my mrs is a mac girl and im a pc guy i would say they deserve it :P

  11. Aaron
    Jobs Halo


    Sounds like Tony is poor and cannot afford a Mac.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    No substance...

    Virus for Mac that doesn't do anything but I bet the Real Basic source code is ever so stylishly presented...

    Paris... Because she's always stylishly presented.

  13. Bunglebear
    Thumb Up


    of things to come. Pride comes before the fall.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Record stuck again

    "Nearly all the MAC owners I know take no interest in security at all - They still think they are untouchable. Sooner or later someone with a bit more smarts than the idiot(s) that wrote this WILL find a significant exploit and if you are still all still sitting round smugly congratulating each other you will be right royally bumfucked."

    People have been saying that for EIGHT YEARS.

    Still nuffink.

  15. Robajob


    Worms can't limp. They haven't got any legs.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    For the benefit of Tony and other idiots...

    ... a 'MAC' is a Migration Authorisation Code, which is a thing you need to obtain when changing broadband providers. If you are referring to the personal computer which runs OS X then you are talking about a 'Mac'.

    Note the difference in capitalisation: it is 'Mac', and not 'MAC'. It's not too difficult, surely?!

  17. Kev K
    Thumb Up

    So ...

    like every other bit of mac only software - rubbish :D

  18. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    OS Games

    This buggy crap is going to infuriate Mr. Jobs. Expect Apple to release a beautiful, streamlined, user-friendly root kit in the near future. Fans will hail it as incredible progress in a world dominated by Windoze. Power users will laugh at it's single-threaded design and 450MB payload that doesn't scale past infections of a few thousand computers. Antivirus corporations will sell MacOS protection against this new virus with with fine print saying, "Using Windows XP and Boot Camp".

  19. Anonymous Coward

    How typical

    A basic-written worm that due to its bugs makes more damage to itself than to the computer it's run on.

    This could be a stealthy camouflage! This buggy it wouldn't stand out among the pearls like Quicktime...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wents to Apple haberdashery. My freind wants to bought Mac OS X but they doesn't her size.

  21. Player_16



    Yes the Mac went down first. It was the first in line to be chosen. it took the bloke (a principal analyst at a security consulting firm) several days of research to write a program(bug) to link onto HIS site to exploit on the day. Keep spreading that FUD.

    Log on in 10 seconds.

    What's the other buggy product?

  22. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Attacking Mac users

    "Tored takes a different approach towards attacking Mac fans"

    True. I personally prefer a tire iron and road flares, as they don't draw suspicion until used.

  23. Tony

    Flamin' marvelous

    Thanks for the correction on my inappropriate use of caps. Much more important than what I was actually saying obviously.

    Can't think why people say MAC owners (:p) are more interested in style than substance..?

    I genuinely don't have a problem with Apple products - I don't have a mac because my work machine has to be a pc and the primary use of my home machine (other than getting flamed on here) is games.

    I am not trying to score points in the ongoing MS vs Apple yawnfest by saying "ha ha your platform is just as vulnerable as mine" - What I am saying is that it doesn't have to be if you worry a bit more about it before you have to.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    how to spot appletards

    they focus on how you are spelling the computer name wrong (oh, will someone think of the children) rather than listening to the message (oh will someone think of the lack of style)

  25. ffrankmccaffery

    Its a start

    Oh well, we all have to start from somewhere and besides the omens look good.

    And how typical for a mactwat to lecture on the correct spelling of mac?

  26. Anonymous Coward

    It IS interesting...

    That mAc users are more interested in people spellingmaC the right way that they are in any potential damage to there mAC.

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: For the benefit of Tony and other idiots...

    Don't be silly - a MAC is a Media Access Control address, as used even on those over-priced Macs.

    The real story is that the people behind the virus thought the fanbois such a tiny target pool they gave the job to their poorest coder, and kept the real codrs working on that much bigger PC base. After all, who wants to restrict their trojan to just the few people working in marketing?

  28. Scott Mckenzie

    Oh no...

    ....i'd best sell up and buy a Windows machine then! That'll fix all my virus/trojan/spyware issues perfectly....

  29. Louis Cowan


    Scott, that might not fix your computer issues, but it'd certainly sort out your pretension!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Matt Bryant

    "a MAC is a Media Access Control address"

    No, that's a 'MAC address', not a 'MAC', as should be obvious from the way you've written it out. If you just say 'MAC' without the word 'address' afterwards then that means 'Migration Authorisation Code'. Not sure why you think it was silly of me to point this out because I was being completely accurate, unlike you. But I guess you've just demonstrated the kind of slapdash vagueness one would expect from a PC user.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Dear fundamentalist, please calm down

    Most versions of HalloWorld have got a bug if one uses them inappropriately. My bicycle has got a bad bug: if I let myself get distracted by that nice bit of skirt over there, it swerves, hits the kerb and crashes. To put it another way, most viruses, trojans, or whatever other euphemism for carelessness you use, exploit the bugs in you, whether that is just typing in your password at a request for authorisation, taking illicit or dubious software from some random web site or opening any old email attachment...

    Why on earth do Windows, Linux or OS X users feel so threatened by each other? Are you as anal about your make of car or washing machine or 'fridge or lawnmower? Why on earth are many of you so intolerant and rude? You sound/read like religious fundamentalists. It's a machine, running software written by a human, even the MS versions! I like my machines to be reliable and look pretty because they take up space in my home and I like my home to be an attractive place; plus OS X gives me a decent UNIX so I can use the command line and shell utilties as a real computer user/engineer and not just a windows click and point merchant (perhaps irrelevant; but I throw that in anyway, counts for me as part of good design and prettiness).

    I am curious why, in over 28 years of computing at all levels, on TOPS 10, VMS, just about every UNIX, Prime, almost every version of MS windows, OSX and others, I have never managed to pick up a computer virus, install a trojan or had to rebuild to recover (except two versions of Linux, including one Ubuntu "update" making the host unable to boot). Just what do you people do? Browse the web and install every free "application" you come across on some dubious site? I expect you get your food in the same way and then wonder about the stomach upset. But then I am special: Safari, Quicktime, IE5, vi, awk, Perl, Python and C all just work for me. Even Windows scripting seems fine within its rather severe limitations.

    Appearances do matter. Why should I want some ugly, clunky, cheap gadget if I have got a choice? You know the old saying: you've got to be rich to buy cheap. Why would I waste precious, free time hunting down the cheapest hardware, assembling it, installing some odd collection of bits to assemble Linux or a fully patched and useful Windows XP, installing anti-this and anit-that, when I could be just using the kit and then getting on with something else? Time is money too.

    So calm down, open up, use what is good for the job and your way of working or playing and get something serious to worry about.

    Oh and how one writes a proprietary name or a standard abbreviation matters: just ask a lawyer, especially a USA one. Firms spend an awful amount of money on such things to safeguard their identities.

  32. frymaster

    @Dear fundamentalist, please calm down

    Well said!

    however, I'd qualify your last point (appearances do matter) - different people have different working habits and modes of thought. one man's "it just works!" is another man's "i have no control!" and one man's "I have total contro!l" is another man's "why isn't this configuration automated?" - and sometimes it's the same man ;)

  33. B

    @Dear fundamentalist

    Feel free to STFU! If we wanted rational discourse we would not have come to El Reg.

    Macs rock!

    Windows blows!

    Windows lovers blow sheep!

  34. Franklin
    Gates Halo


    "People have been saying that for EIGHT YEARS.

    Still nuffink."

    Well, folks who don't fancy Macs needed SOMETHING to replace the "Apple is about to go out of business" trope that was trendy a few years back...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Louis Cowan

    You missed the dripping sarcasm in Scott's post.

    Re fundamentalism: very well said. For the people with the attention span of a goldfish, here's a condensed version:

    Use what works for you and shut up about what anyone else does.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dear Fundamentalist

    It's pretty simple why there are shouty OS zealots, it all boils down to plain lazyness. z-OS users can't be arsed to learn OSes on 'lesser' computers, Linux users can't be arsed to learn Windows, but know a bit of OS-X by osmosis from using linux (so dislike Windows more than OSX) Windows users can't be arsed to learn OSX or Linux. You also get the same with the Big Iron UNIX users. This is all flowered up with faux ideology and rabid ravings to cover up the fear of being left behind, if they have to switch.

    Everything that I have said above is a generalisation, there are genuine Linux people who genuinely believe that they are doing "something better"/"some good" by using Linux, There are Windows people who use Linux, z-OS, OS-X, UNIXes (I certainly do). All OSes are not perfect, but most are good enough at the price point for the tasks they do, some are better at some tasks than others.

    It's all getting pretty boring and I can't really be arsed with it any more.

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