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Security Privacy Software

MacKeeper Discloses 13 Million Mac Users' Details With Poor Hash Protection (mackeeper.com) 72

An anonymous reader writes: Mac security software suite MacKeeper is recovering after a hack leaked millions of users' personal information. Kromtech, the software developer, confirmed that it had received notice of the hack yesterday, discovering a hole in its security which was exposing customer usernames, email addresses and other personal data for as much as 13 million users. The hole was patched within a matter of hours after security researcher Chris Vickery had published details of the error over the weekend. Vickery, who had been unfamiliar with both MacKeeper and Kromtech, explained that he had discovered the security fault by browsing the connected devices search engine Shodan.io.
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MacKeeper Discloses 13 Million Mac Users' Details With Poor Hash Protection

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  • by pipedwho ( 1174327 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @08:33PM (#51126349)

    With the amount of "MacKeeper" subterfuge style pop-up ads that appear all over the place, I've always assumed that it was a scam. Kind of like the random calls you get from India saying your Windows machine has a virus - even if you don't use Windows.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      My mother recently phoned me to ask me to come over for a roast dinner, and by the way, her mac wasn't working right. I found the problem to be some borderline-ware called "mackeeper" to be the problem. Basically, this is a suite of technical utilities that are of borderline value on a modern computer, and on balance, are probably worse than just running a bare OS.

      So, I uninstalled it, and the system started running fine; nice and responsive, etc.

      This lasted a couple of hours, until I hear shouting,
      • Ah, the old Sunk Costs Fallacy [wikipedia.org].
        My brother in law had a similar issue on his Windows laptop. I determined the cause to the the crap antivirus he was running (either Nortons/Symantec or McAfee).
        Told him that it was causing the problem and I was going to uninstall it.
        He wouldn't let me because he'd just renewed the subscription for it, so still had 10 months to go.

        In hindsight, it was one of the best decisions he made, as from that point forwards I had a valid reason to refuse any computer support whatsoever.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        No, my niece's kid isn't old enough to be fixing the computer. *sighs* I am not a Mac user but my niece, bless her, wanted and got a Mac. This has meant many calls to help fix her Mac. I don't know anything about them. One of the first issues was MacKeeper but I managed to figure that one out.

        She wanted to install AV (no, I do not know why) and MacKeeper would not let her. So, this went around for a while and finally I figured out MacKeeper wasn't Mac software. It took a bit of Google-fu and a few phone cal

        • No, my niece's kid isn't old enough to be fixing the computer. *sighs* I am not a Mac user but my niece, bless her, wanted and got a Mac. This has meant many calls to help fix her Mac. I don't know anything about them. One of the first issues was MacKeeper but I managed to figure that one out.

          She wanted to install AV (no, I do not know why) and MacKeeper would not let her. So, this went around for a while and finally I figured out MacKeeper wasn't Mac software. It took a bit of Google-fu and a few phone calls.

          Tell her to stop thinking of her Mac as just a Windows machine with a different Logo, and she'll be fine. And then set her up with a nice, NON-ADMIN User Account, so she can stop ruining her own System by installing A/V CRAP that Mac Users simply don't need.

          Then, for bonus points, Enable VNC (Screen Sharing) on her Mac (and Port-Forward Port 5900 to her machine), then YOU can log in with any VNC Client and Install stuff for her in a more, um, "controlled" manner...

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            I don't like her that much. She has that Apple Care, extended stuff, now. ;-) I like her *that* much.

            • I don't like her that much. She has that Apple Care, extended stuff, now. ;-) I like her *that* much.

              LOL, Ok!

              I just know how we all get roped-into those "Family Tech-Support" gigs... ;-)

              • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                I am only a little smarter than that. I did, for a spell, end up being the computer guy for an entire small NW Maine town - including helping an elementary school's IT guy out. It's easier to just buy 'em stuff that works. :/ Considering what my time is worth, at least to me, it's quite possibly cheaper.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It exists, but its total crapware.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is a scam, just a different one than you thought. Just look at their web page for what they offer. 11 of the 16 "apps" are built in to Mac OS X. They sell you someone else's AV engine that you can get for free. That leaves a duplicate file finder, a temp/junk cleanup, "smart uninstaller" and an app that makes sure your 3rd party apps are up to date.

    • With the amount of "MacKeeper" subterfuge style pop-up ads that appear all over the place, I've always assumed that it was a scam. Kind of like the random calls you get from India saying your Windows machine has a virus - even if you don't use Windows.

      Yes - MacKeeper is for all intents and purposes, Malware. Avoid at all costs.

      • I get those windows calls frequently. I always mention that I was attempting to download some porn, and it didn't load. They want to help. I describe the (fictional) porn in detail. Surprisingly, many of the scammers have a real problem with an amy schumer-ese description. Fun times, and the longer I keep them on the phone, the less time they have to scam a real potential target. I once had to mention that I didn't have a windows key, I have some sort of apple icon on my keyboard....at the ten minute
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Bonus points for effort. I usually just tell them "oh yes, I'm glad you called, let me just put you on hold for a sec while I run down to the office, takes two minutes", hit mute and see how long it takes them to realize I'm not coming back. My record so far is 8:37.

      • MacKeeper is for all intents and purposes, Malware. Avoid at all costs.

        ALL OS X "Anti-Malware" software is for all intents and purposes, Malware. Avoid at all costs.

        FTFY.

  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @08:35PM (#51126361)

    FTA:

    ‘The data was/is publicly available. No exploits or vulnerabilities involved. They published it to the open web with no attempt at protection,’ Vickery wrote in a Reddit post. He noted that Kromtech was alerted and was able to quickly patch the vulnerability.

    There was no need for a hack because it was published to the open web!

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      in the world where the ability to google equates to technical knowledge... reading is hacking.

  • Big news (Score:5, Funny)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @08:36PM (#51126365) Homepage Journal
    This is really big news, 13 million Mac users were gullible enough to buy MacKeeper!
    • I suspect the database wasn't all paying customers, but also ex-customers and anyone who created a username::password combo, and maybe even contact lists purchased from other equally shady sites.

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      This is really big news, 13 million Mac users were gullible enough to buy MacKeeper!

      Just think how valuable that list really is. Those are people who are proven dumb enough to spend money on MacKeeper. If you had a copy and sent them just one or two mailings, you could probably get most of them to buy homeopathic medicines, copper bracelets, crystal pendants, and maybe donate to your Church of Perpetual Income.

      Come to think of it, maybe that's MacKeeper's biggest revenue stream: renting out their list of proven suckers.

    • Re:Big news (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @10:23PM (#51127001)
      Gullible in an understatement. Buying something that spams you opening their website while opening other pages, or with adverts get your Mac "faster" is so stupid that beggars belief. mackeeper site used to be pinnned to 127.0.0.1 in my hosts file, and nowadays is black holed in my DNS server.
    • I'm shocked that there are actually 13 million Mac users. How are they supposed to feel elite and stuff if there are that many of them.

      Apple: you need to raise the prices some more.

      • I'm shocked that there are actually 13 million Mac users. How are they supposed to feel elite and stuff if there are that many of them.

        Apple: you need to raise the prices some more.

        Then I guess you'd be apoplectic to learn that, as of 2012 (the most recent figure I could find), there are actually 60 million Mac users [cultofmac.com] worldwide.

  • I almost mean that. Over the weekend I received a marketing email from our electric utility - Green Mountain Power - detailing their new program to provide Tesla Powerwalls to interested customers as part of a new program.

    The problem was instead of blind copying the HUNDREDS OF RECIPIENTS they included all our email addresses in the TO: field exposing our names & addresses to everyone who got the message (in violation of their own Privacy Policies). I replied, basically asking them "WTF?" and wondered i

    • I replied, basically asking them "WTF?" and wondered if they were as careless with their SCADA systems...

      I'm sure it would have taken down your email for an afternoon, but you should have just replied-all to get the ball rolling.

      • As a contractor at some big companies, it was always fun to watch the reply-all to HUGE distribution lists.

        The mix of confusion, frustration and attempts at control as everyone replied to all was always an afternoon's worth of entertainment.

        • I'm surprised that internal email systems don't have a method of shutting down "Reply-All Storms" (I coined a phrase! Tee he!). All you'd have to do is put a filter on the Message-ID and any email that's in reference to it with more than one recipient could be deleted (with an email back to the original sender saying so).

  • Article Correction (Score:4, Insightful)

    by redback ( 15527 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @09:15PM (#51126583)

    First line should read

    Mac malware vendor Mackeeper

  • I was trying to download LibreOffice and somehow wound up with MacKeeper. The installation process didn't even tell me what it was. Once I realized it was a scam (which didn't take very long), it was a bitch to get rid of! It has processes that would respawn after they were killed. That's not a good sign, especially for something that isn't essential to system functionality. And it kept starting up on boot-up even if you moved it to the trash. You had to empty the trash and remove some files in Library in o

    • I had a similar experience after downloading a bittorrent client. Start installation, continue, agree to the terms, continue, location of the installation, continue, continue, optional installation of MacKeeper, continue,... Hey, why do I suddenly have MacKeeper on my system? I uninstalled it right away, which indeed wasn't straightforward.

  • I thought they were some spyware thing. Who the hell is using that?

  • by Taylor Burke ( 4305701 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @10:04PM (#51126891)
    It uses immorale advertising tactics to sell itself to people. Says they have viruses when they don't and scares old people.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      No idea why this is down modded. As I commented in another thread the abuse is so rampant, that between shoddy tactics and opening up pages in unrelated sites to mac keeper site, I black hole it at DNS level.
      • No idea why this is down modded. As I commented in another thread the abuse is so rampant, that between shoddy tactics and opening up pages in unrelated sites to mac keeper site, I black hole it at DNS level.

        THIS! Also for those who don't block it, at least go to the real site for yer downloads. Doing a search on Libreoffice download shows a lot of sites like Cnet, Softonic, libreofficedownload.com, more downloads.com, Download.com (what?) only two of the pages of links go to libreoffice.org. the rest???

        The first thing many of these sites do when you try to download is the next screen you get you see what looks like the button you need, but no sir - it ain't, not at all. You gets a free gift even if you don't

  • I've always been told MacKeeper is malware.
    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Any AV is worse than malware by definition. It just relies in your stupidity to propagate and some even extort you money in the process.
      • Ransomeware like Cryptolocker or banking trojans like Zeus are far more damaging than what the worst of the AV products do. A statement like that either means you're ignorant about what real dangers malware can pose or are simply prone to statements slathered in a good helping of hyperbole.

        Note: I'm not defending MacKeeper, as it sounds like crap, but that's at a whole different level than real malware.

  • by DownWithTheMan ( 797237 ) on Tuesday December 15, 2015 @11:47PM (#51127317)

    Anyone else notice that tons of apps on SourceForge (owned by the same great overlord as /.) are bundling MacKeeper with the installer? Seriously, I've tried to grab a few apps from SourceForge recently only to find the app I'm trying to grab wrapped with some kind of crap-ware installer. Apparently it's wrapped at random and doesn't always happen to everyone. After seeing a few installers that I got from SF fail or never install my app or attempt to connect to the internet (and thankfully able to be stopped by Little Snitch), I did a few google searches to figure out WTF... Apparently SF has been doing this for a while now - and so really, I partially blame them for the fact that so many people have this kind of crap installed on their machines... See the reviews [sourceforge.net] on FileZilla for some reviewers complaining about this very thing.

    • ublock-origins blocks sourceforge as a malware site now, and while I occasionally override it to peek at some actual source code, I'm glad for the reminder to never download anything from that site. There was a kerfuffle a while ago when they started doing this, and despite some backpedaling after some initial bad press, the site should probably be considered toxic.

      http://www.howtogeek.com/21876... [howtogeek.com]

  • I'm surprised that there are actually 13 Million MacKeeper users. What the actual...?!?!
  • Krom is a Dutch word that means 'crooked'. A company calling themselves that, well...

  • Were because these asshats would prevent me from leaving the web page when I was redirected there...

    ##
    # Host Database
    #
    # localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
    # when the system is booting. Do not change this entry.
    ##
    127.0.0.1 localhost
    255.255.255.255 broadcasthost ::1 localhost
    fe80::1%lo0 localhost

    127.0.0.1 mackeeperapp.mackeeper.com
    127.0.0.1 www.mackeeper.com

  • Didn't they say that Mac users didn't believe Macs would need such tools? So why would they download them if that were the case?

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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