Botnet seizes 600,000 Macs

John Moe Apr 5, 2012

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.

Here’s what it does, according to ZDNet:

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.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.