Apple has posted a new article on the Knowledge Base that acknowledges the recent upsurge of Mac Defender malware attacks. In the article it acknowledges the variants of the attack and its purpose and say that an update to OS X is on its way to fix the problem.

Apple also goes on to provide detailed instructions on both how to avoid installing it and how to remove it if it is already installed.

Apple says that the malware has three main varieties, MacDefender, MacProtector and MacSecurity. The goal of the software is to record and transmit the credit card information of the infected machine’s owner.

The Mac OS X update will automatically find the Mac Defender malware and all of the variants of it. Users will also now get an ‘explicit warning’ if they download it.

This is an example of how measured Apple’s responses to things like this are. Instead of recommending fixes haphazardly or that people just pick up a piece of third-party antivirus software, Apple researched the problem internally, designed clear steps to combat it and published it on its help site. Although we most likely won’t see Apple updating OS X for every bit of malware, the Mac Defender issue had built up enough steam in the press that this kind of response was necessary to nip this in the bud.

As the OS X platform gains in popularity it will be interesting to see if Apple can keep up with this kind of personal attention to malware or if it will begin to recommend that users install third-party antivirus at some point.

You can read the Knowledge Base article here for instructions on how to avoid installing the malware and how to remove it if you do.