Virus Found in Pirated Copies of iWork'09

The iWork suite of programs was announced to be receiving an update at this year's MacWorld keynote and since then, a free 30 day trial version has been available through Apple's website for OSX users to try.  The software package bundles popular productivity programs Pages, Numbers and Keynote and has received generally positive comments from users.

However, Intego, the developers of VirusBarrier for OSX released a security alert today claiming pirated versions of iWork '09 contains a malicious Trojan Virus.  The virus is reported to automatically install as soon as the administrator password is provided to OSX upon the installation of the pirated iWork '09 package.  Once installed, the Trojan is then embedded in the startup programs folder and renamed to "iWorkServices".

Ultimately, the Trojan is designed to connect to a remote server and alert that server it is currently running on the infected system.  This allows the virus to then receive instructions for malicious code excution or receive additional downloads.  Perhaps the most disturbing news is that the Trojan also retains root access and does not require any further input from the user to execute anything else.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that the iWork '09 installation package does not contain the Trojan but rather acts as the catalyst for the Trojan to be installed.  It is also important to note that this Trojan will not self propagate and will only infect a Mac if the altered iWork '09 installer is executed.

Intego notes that users of their VirusBarrier X4 and X5 software packages are protected from this Trojan.  However, this news comes just days after Apple announced that they will be removing serial key anti-piracy protection from the retail copies of iWork '09.  With the iWork '09 suite costing $79 from Apple, there isn't a major reason for users to be pirating this software.  However, Intego said that by their estimates, "As of 6 am EST (January 22, 2009), at least 20,000 people have downloaded this installer."

With Mac's and OSX gaining ground and popularity among users, it is not unusual to expect more malware and viruses to be found in the future.  As always, it is not advised to be downloading pirated software regardless of your operating system of choice.