On Wednesday, it was discovered that the latest version of Apple's OS X has clear built-in malware protection, which Apple confirmed.

Snow Leopard contains a component that checks for the “signatures” of known malware alerts users when a Web download, e-mail attachment, iChat instant message contains code that the system thinks is malicious.

One of Apple's key selling points has been that its Macs are not as prone to viruses like PC's are. This this is the first time Apple has admitted that malware does exist in its operating system

Apple first introduced a feature called File Quarantine back in the days of OS X 10.4 Tiger. The same technology was also built into the next iteration of the software, OS X 10.5 Leopard. A

pple is offering an enhanced version of the feature with this latest version, OS X 10.6, or Snow Leopard, Apple confirmed.

In these cases, rather than just advising the user that the file is an application, Snow Leopard provides a warning that the file contains known malware and suggests that the user move it to the Trash, Apple said in a statement.

For example, a bogus version of iWork circulated on the web a few months ago that contained malware. That particular malware is now automatically detected by File Quarantine. We see this as simply another example of the refinements users will find in Snow Leopard.