Flashback trojan has infected 600,000 Macs

Apple computer users should not think they're immune from malware threats

April 5, 2012

Traditionally, Windows has been the desktop platform which cyber-criminal types attack, given its huge user base in comparison to the global Apple Mac population.

But Mac users definitely shouldn’t be complacent, because there are threat vectors out there targeting their platform – especially seeing as the Apple computers are selling in greater quantities these days.

And a major malware issue has just emerged, highlighted not by the usual likes of Sophos or Symantec, but a Russian security firm by the name of Dr Web.

The anti-virus maker reckons that some 600,000 Mac OS X computers have been infected by the BackDoor.Flashback trojan. Most of that half a million strong botnet legion consists of computers in the US and Canada.

The US is home to 56% of the infections detected by Dr Web, Canada represents a 20% share, and the UK isn’t too far behind with 13% of incidents.

Flashback is delivered by a dodgy website via a JavaScript exploit, and it’s a tricky beast because different variants have emerged as Apple patches security holes up. The latest, variant 0507, was only just patched yesterday (after having been discovered in the wild just a week ago).

The message is clear: Be careful where you’re surfing, even on a Mac. Dr Web notes that at the end of last month, some four million estimated websites were loaded with the Flashback malware.

Make sure you keep an eye on the latest Apple security advisories, and keep your machine patched up (either that, or disable Java).


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