Flashback Trojan Responsible for Nearly 600,000 Mac Attacks, and Counting

Paul Lilly

Psst, hey Windows PC user, come closer. Yes you, the one contemplating a switch to Mac OS X after spending some hands on time with iOS on your iPad or iWhatever. Want to know a dirty little secret? Macs get viruses too! No, really, they do. In fact, over half a million Mac OS X systems are now part of a botnet after becoming infected with the Flashback Trojan horse.

Russian antivirus vendor Doctor Web ran the numbers and figures there are more than 550,000 infected Mac machines with this particular Trojan, most of which are located in the United States and Canada.

"This once again refutes claims by experts that there are no cyber-threats to Mac OS X," Doctor Web said.

Doctor Web estimates that there are over four million infected links floating around Google SERP (search engine results pages), all of which are waiting to exploit three Java vulnerabilities in Mac OS X. The most recent one was patched by Apple on April 4 (yesterday). Oracle patched the same vulerability for Windows back in February, according to F-Secure

Brian Krebs from KrebsOnSecurity has some sound advice for Mac and Windows users alike hoping to avoid these types of infections, and that's to disable Java if you don't specifically need it. He also had criticizing remarks about Apple's response time, saying the Cupertino company's "lackadaisical (and often plain puzzling ) response to patching dangerous security holes perpetuates the harmful myth that Mac users don't need to be concerned about malware attacks."

The lesson here is that the bad guys simply don't care which platform you're most fond of, so long as there's a vulnerability they can exploit and enough users to make it worth their while.

Image Credit: Zazzle

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