Apple out to kill widespread Macintosh virus

April 11, 2012
Apple said it is crafting a weapon to vanquish a Flashback virus from Macintosh computers and working to disrupt the command network being used by hackers behind the infections.

Apple said it is crafting a weapon to vanquish a Flashback virus from Macintosh computers and working to disrupt the command network being used by hackers behind the infections.

In its first public admission that the malicious software is vexing machines powered by the California company's Macintosh software, Apple said it had patched the weakness exploited by the virus and was now out to kill it.

"Apple is developing software that will detect and remove the Flashback malware," the firm said in a message in a support blog on its website.

Hackers trick Mac users into downloading the virus by disguising it as an update to Adobe Flash video viewing software.

Flashback Trojan malware tailored to slip past "Mac" defenses is a variation on viruses typically aimed at personal computers (PCs) powered by Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The malicious software does its dirty work with directions received from "hosted by malware authors" and Apple is collaborating with Internet service providers to "disable this command and control network."

The virus took advantage of a weakness in Java programs, according to Apple.

last week warned that more than a half-million may have been infected with a virus targeting Apple machines.

Flashback Trojan malware tailored to slip past "Mac" defenses is a variation on viruses typically aimed at personal computers (PCs) powered by Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The infections, spotted "in the wild" by Finland-based computer security firm F-Secure and then quantified by Russian anti-virus program vendor Dr. Web, came as hackers increasingly take aim at .

"All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world," McAfee Labs director of Dave Marcus told AFP.

"Mac has said for a long time that they are not vulnerable to PC malware, which is true; they are vulnerable to Mac malware."

Dr. Web determined that more than 600,000 Mac computers may be infected with Flashback, which is designed to let hackers steal potentially valuable information such as passwords or financial account numbers.

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5 comments

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kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
Call me cynical if you want but this is my take on these virus programs:
I suspect that in order to expand market share, some anti-virus SW companies would secretly release viruses into the wild and then "discover" them publicly - thus creating fear, uncertainty and doubt which they can sooth with their own brand of anti-virus SW.
Furthermore, just how can one actually trust these companies to NOT spy on you - especially when they have full control over your machine. What's there to stop them sending messages whilst downloading the next A-V database update? In fact this is probably possible for ANY software installed on your machine. I say this because one has only to look at the option that's ticked by default - the one that says you agree to be part of their knowledge base network whereby they will have access to the list of everything that's installed on your machine - supposedly to help them discover and better fight malware.
Then there's the fact that these A-Vs can be hijacked
mrtea
not rated yet Apr 11, 2012
"Hackers trick Mac users into downloading the virus by disguising it as an update to Adobe Flash video viewing software."

Of course, it's not a virus, but a trojan. In other words, it must be 'installed' by the user, one way or another. There will always be ways to trick people into doing so, whatever the platform.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
just how can one actually trust these companies to NOT spy on you

If you're afraid of them then use open source software/operating systems. With closed source you never know what's in there. This goes for your cell phone, for your computer, for your car or for the candy you bought at the store.

In fact this is probably possible for ANY software installed on your machine

Really depends on how savvy you are when it comes to computers. Use privileges and sandboxing. There is no perfect safety (unless you disconnect from the net). Store your vital data elsewhere.

because one has only to look at the option that's ticked by default

Untick it, then. If that's not possible don't install it.

Then there's the fact that these A-Vs can be hijacked

If you don't like AV software then don't install any. No one is forcing you to do so.

Just be a responsible user.
OldBlackCrow
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
I just think back to all the times my Apple fanboy friends (of which I have many) said, "Apple will never get viruses and stuff because people who write them know how secure the Apple OS is."

I personally have no problem with Apple, but I always knew it was a matter of time and opportunity. But I am snickering inside. :-)
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 11, 2012
What we need is more of the industry vision of downloading and executing code by simply hovering a mouse over a browser icon or hotspot.

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