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23rd April 2012

Mac attack

Infected Apples leave users with a bad taste in their mouth
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Malware has infected an estimated 600,000 Apple computers. The software is unknowingly installed when computer users visit malicious websites and can give hackers control of the computer.

Apple computers have traditionally been seen as more resilient when it comes to viruses but this claim has been challenged by the recent attacks on Mac systems.

Apple has released a security update that will remove “the most common variants” of the malware. The company is also working with internet providers to remove the websites which infect users’ computers with the malicious software.

Some experts believe the Apple response to the malware infection has been too slow. The security update was released a whole eight weeks after Java producers Oracle released their own solution to the malware problem. Other software development companies had also released their own solutions before Apple’s security update.

Rik Ferguson, head of security research and communication at internet security company Trend Micro, said: “Security updates issued by Apple are issued too slowly and not on any regular schedule”. He believes that because Mac computers are being increasingly targeted by hackers, Apple should be more aware of this and respond accordingly.

The malware, known as Flashback, can be used to steal passwords and other sensitive information when users browse the internet. On 6th April 2012, Dr. Web from Russian based anti-virus producers Norton believed that there were 600,000 Mac computers affected by Flashback. Norton thinks this has now more than halved to 270,000.

Another Russian anti-virus firm, Kaspersky Lab, had problems with their update to tackle Flashback. Users could have been left with deleted settings, which controlled things like configurations and file sharing. This problematic software has since been pulled with the intention of re-release when the bug is fixed.

Leah Wong

Leah Wong

Former Sci and Tech editor (2011-2012).

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