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Snow Leopard to warn Apple users of malware - reports

Only days before the launch of Apple's upcoming operating system upgrade, Snow Leopard, numerous online reports have alleged that the final build includes an anti-malware feature.

Apple's advertisements often boast that their systems are virus-free. While Mac OS X has had a number of widely reported vulnerabilities, despite being well-publicized, they never amounted to much.

Still, in this latest move, if true, it would appear that Apple is not taking its chances, and will provide users with a system that scans files for potential malware. In a screenshot that has been widely circulated, originating from the intego Mac Security Blog, Snow Leopard is shown to recommend that a .DMG file be moved to the trash. The OS claims that the file includes "OSX.RSPlug.A" malware.

That Trojan horse, which was discovered in 2007, runs on OS X and changes the system's DNS settings. It is easily removed and does little damage.

Writing for ZDNet's Zero Day security blog, Ryan Naraine states that Apple is not using the open source ClamAV engine. He believes Apple may have contracted with a third-party antivirus company for the reported new Snow Leopard feature.

If true, the anti-malware inclusion in Snow Leopard would mean that both Apple and Microsoft will soon officially offer some sort of free system-wide protection for their respective operating systems. Microsoft's "Morro" is expected sometime this year.

Late last year, some noticed that Apple began encouraging the use of antivirus for Mac OS X, though the company later removed that support note.