Mac users have forever flaunted to their PC counterparts about how the latter is susceptible to viruses while the former isn’t. Well, the bragging rights seem to end here as Russian anti-virus vendor Dr. Web spotted a Trojan affecting nearly 600,000 Macs around the world. The near immune image of the Mac OS X has simply crumbled.
So what exactly is the Trojan all about? The trojan, Backdoor.Flashback.39, can infect computers via an infected web page. The vulnerability itself lies in Java, a product which is not Apple’s. BBC UK also reported that anti-virus researchers had spotted the circulation in the guise of an Adobe Flash update since September last year. Once users installed the update on their Macs, the Trojan apparently disabled some security features.
The infected machines become a part of a botnet network, leaving them vulnerable to further hacking attacks and even the possibilities of hackers controlling them. Russian anti-virus firm Dr Web seems to be one of the first ones to pick up this activity. The firm reported that cyber criminals could potentially control an infected machine as the Trojan sent a message back to the intruder with a Unique ID.
So, has this affected Mac users in India?
A report from MailOnline based on Dr Web’s findings depicted the extent and statistics of how Trojan Backdoor.Flashback.39 has affected Mac users. These findings show that Indian users most likely have not been affected. About 57% of infected machines were in the US, 20% in Canada, 13% in UK and 6% in Australia. Apple has already issued patches that curb the vulnerability, but it does not necessarily mean that all users have applied the security patch on their Macs.
Security patch for Mac users
Mac users who need Java to view websites should install the security update that was released by Apple. It claims to curb and prevent Backdoor.Flashback.39 from affecting machines. The update can be downloaded from Apple Support. The patch issued by Apple seems to have effectively curbed and controlled further spread of the Trojan according to CEO of Dr Web, Boris Sharov, .
Backdoor.Flashback.39 Trojan and the Apple brand
Apple fans and technicians alike loved the fact that their machines and the Mac OS X were considered almost immune to virus and hacking attacks. Unfortunately for Apple, it is no longer so. Here is what some of the industry insiders had to say about it.
"People used to say that Apple computers, unlike Windows PCs, can’t ever be infected – but it’s a myth" – Timur Tsoriev, Analyst, Kaspersky Lab Source
"This once again refutes claims by some experts that there are no cyber-threats to Mac OS X" – Dr Web, Russian Anti-Virus firm Source
"Many Mac users believe that the system is ‘immune’ to viruses and trojans – but in reality hackers rarely choose to write viruses that afflict Macs, simply because there are relatively few Macs compared to the huge number of machines that run Windows. The attack has been described as a ‘rude awakening’ for Mac users." Source
"All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world" – Dave Marcus, Director of Threat Intelligence, McAfee Labs Source
Apple has not come out with an official statement as yet, but are expected to do so soon.