Trojan ‘Infects More Than 600,000 Apple Macs’
Hackers can use the ‘Flashback’ trojan to make infected machines part of a ‘botnet’ – a collection of computers that can potentially be used to forward spam or other viruses.
The malware has proved an unwelcome shock for Apple Mac owners, given longstanding claims from experts that Mac OS X machines are largely immune to cyber threats.
First detected last September, the trojan is estimated to have infected around 70,000 computers in the UK – while more than 300,000 in the US have been hit.
It first appeared as a fake Adobe Flash Player plug-in installer and was capable of deactivating security software.
But a modified version – Backdoor.Flashback.39 – is reportedly now able to exploit vulnerabilities in the Java system, which Apple has released a patch for in response.
Russian anti-virus vendor Dr Web estimated the number of machines affected.
It said in a report: “This once again refutes claims by some experts that there are no cyber-threats to Mac OS X. Systems get infected after a user is redirected to a bogus site from a compromised resource or via a traffic distribution system.”
It added that some sources had said more than four million compromised web-pages could be found on a Google search engine research page at the end of March.