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Apple Macs infected by Flashback Trojan

by Leo Waldock on 13.04.2012 05:39
The world has turned upside down for Apple owners with the news that 650,000 Apple Mac computers have been infected by a malware Trojan called Flashback. The details are surprisingly mundane as the problem was caused by a vulnerability in Java. Once the Macs were infected with a downloader they were ordered to install the Trojan and thus became part of a huge Botnet that is controlled by ... who?

Apple has patched the flaw for users of Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 and has recommended that users of older version of Mac OS X disable Java which sounds, if we are charitable, like an incomplete solution.

When I say that the problem sounds mundane I mean that it is the sort of thing we Windows users have learned to take in our stride. The first step is that the blackhats find a flaw that they can exploit. They launch an attack and our Firewall and anti virus software fight the problem. If the malware breaks through those defences then we hope that Windows User Account Control limits the damage. The next step is that Microsoft patches the problem and rolls out the necessary update to the waiting PC world.

By contrast Apple users have long assumed that the Mac ecosystem is invulnerable to malware. Indeed Apple has often mocked Microsoft as a stupidly unsafe computing platform as part of its series of amusing 'I'm a Mac and I'm a PC' adverts.

If you watch the adverts carefully you see that the Security movie points out the flawed way that Windows Vista User Account Control works but does not attack the principle behind the software.

Apple is on shakier ground with the 'Trust Mac' movie where the premise is that the only safe PC is one that cannot seen by the Internet.

And so on, and so forth.

The problem is that Mac owners believe they are invulnerable to PC malware however they do not seem to appreciate they are open to attack from Mac malware and Apple is doing very little to educate its customers.

Welcome to our world Mac People. It's a cold, hard place, and you need a new way of thinking if you want to stay safe.