This stuff hides behind screen savers. As the screen savers install, they download malware which opens ports and ships personal information out the back of the computers. The intent does appears to be neither stealing identities nor creating botnets, but, rather, to track web use and personal information for advertising purposes.
It’s intrusive to personal lives, but not destructive to machines.
It sounds for all the world like our old friend from the early days of Windows, Gator Wallet.
From the story:
In fact the VoiceFive/PremierOpinion software – which also attacks is available for Windows – has already been pointed out by Ben Edelman, longtime scourge of spyware, as “not something you’d want on your computer”.
According to Intego (a Mac anti-virus vendor–ed.), “This spyware, OSX/OpinionSpy, performs a number of malicious actions, from scanning files to recording user activity, as well as sending information about this activity to remote servers and opening a backdoor on infected Macs.”
Mac users who might have downloaded screen savers of dubious parentage might want to read the article.