Botnet seizes 600,000 Macs
Said to debilitate Mac owners smugness about being immune to viruses and botnets
Yeah, this isn’t supposed to happen, is it? But yet here we are. The Flashback trojan horse has made its way onto 600,000 machines, according to the Russian security company Dr. Web, a company that is apparently really named Dr. Web. About 57% of the infected machines, which are made to be a part of a botnet, are in the United States, including 274 machines in Cupertino, California, home of Apple itself. Another 20% of the machines are in Canada.
Flashback was initially discovered in September 2011 masquerading as a fake Adobe Flash Player installer. A month later, a variant that disables Mac OS X antivirus signatures updates was spotted in the wild.
In the past few months, Flashback has evolved to exploiting Java vulnerabilities. This means it doesn’t require any user intervention if Java has not been patched on your Mac: all you have to do is visit a malicious website, and the malware will be automatically downloaded and installed.
Historically, Macs have been more immune from these sort of attacks. That’s in part because the platform isn’t as much of a developer free-for-all as Windows so there are, in effect, smaller doorways for bad guys to break in. The other reason is that there simply aren’t as many Macs, or there haven’t been, so if you’re a baddie, you want to get the most bang for your baddie buck and you go after Windows. But along with Apple’s popularity may come some more trouble.
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