Searching for Snow Leopard? Careful.
Please don't steal us: Snow leopards at the Toronto Zoo.

Jessica Biel and Brad Pitt may reign supreme as the most dangerous Internet searches, but those looking to score illicit copies of Apple's new operating system ought to be wary, too.

A post at Trend Micro's Malware blog warns of bogus sites claiming to offer free downloads of Apple's Snow Leopard, which really serve up "a DNS changer Trojan detected by Trend Micro as OSX_JAHLAV.K." Once activated, the Trojan reportedly opens a door to all sorts of malware.

Really? People are that anxious to get a free advance copy of Snow Leopard. It's a $30 upgrade, and less than a day away from being legitimately available. At this point (and price point), why not wait and go legit?

Despite some who would ding Apple for not releasing more features, the new Mac operating system is being hailed as a sleek upgrade by many in the tech press. New York Times tech columnist David Pogue writes: "the big story here isn’t really Snow Leopard. It’s the radical concept of a software update that’s smaller, faster and better — instead of bigger, slower and more bloated. May the rest of the industry take the hint."

The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, in reviewing Snow Leopard, points out that though Apple officially requires users to have purchased its pricier predecessor, Leopard, to get the $30 upgrade price, it's possible to, well, cheat. "Apple concedes that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade will work properly on these Tiger-equipped Macs, so you can save the extra $140," he writes.

That, of course, violates Apple's end-user licensing agreement, or EULA, but it's still possible. The reason? As PC World's Daniel Ionescu points out, "Apple's discs do not require a CD key when installing the OS. They also don't require registration after installation. And as the whole Snow Leopard OS comes on the Leopard upgrade disc, without any built-in software restrictions, Apple makes cheating easy."

It's a pirate's paradise, apparently. Just remember what your mother told you: cheaters never prosper.

Meanwhile, The Unofficial Apple Weblog points to a couple ways to get free legitimate copies of Snow Leopard, through tie-ins with software companies.


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