A strain of malware called Flashback has looped more than thousands of Mac computers into a worldwide botnet. KGO-TV
in San Francisco gives out the numbers from Russian antivirus vendor Dr. Web.
“We’re learning this morning that more than 600,000 Mac computers have been infected with malware, half of them in the U.S.”
Flashback sneaks onto systems using a Java vulnerability. According to ZDNet
, if a user has Java installed, all they have to do is visit a compromised website — and there are more than four million to accidentally choose from. Then Flashback starts stealing usernames, passwords and other user information.
Dr. Web claims nearly 57 percent of the infected Macs are in the U.S.
An analyst pointed out on Twitter
274 of the compromised computers are in Cupertino, California — raising the possibility that even computers within Apple’s own headquarters are compromised.
A Forbes blogger wrote
that this is yet more proof Macs are hardly invulnerable to viruses.
“Don’t believe the hype that [Macs] are invulnerable to malware, even Apple has now toned down this rhetoric over the years and now uses tamer phrases such as ‘more resistant to attack.‘“
points out — with the rise in Apple’s popularity, hackers are going to be more tempted to find ways around the Mac’s security.
“Before, when Mac market share was in the pits, this was a lot of work for little benefit. That changed with the uptick in popularity of Apple — now Macs are a much more attractive target.”
Apple issued a patch for the Java exploit on Tuesday. A blogger for Sophos
— a company that makes antivirus software for the Mac — wondered why Apple waited so long to patch an exploit that had been fixed on Windows back in February.