Despite the rampant claims from Macintosh users that their preferred operating system is not susceptible to viruses as Windows, internet security researchers have discovered a new large-scale malware attack that has affected over half a million Mac users globally, with over 300,000 victims in the United States alone.
The program, known as BackDoor.Flashback.39, is a Trojan Horse, which means that it mimics useful software — in this case, presenting the user with a security certificate, alleged to be from Apple, that states that the Adobe Flash Plugin needs to be installed. But when the link is clicked, the malware hijacks the Mac’s OS, providing the hacker unauthorized access to the victim’s computer. Most nefarious of all, this program doesn’t require a user to deliberately click on any links or manually download any software. It merely downloads itself onto a user’s computer, allowing the creator the full, unlimited run thereof.
It has been reported that the malware programmers behind this diabolical plot are taking advantage of a bug in Java, a popular computer language used to build web pages, to enable the virus to be automatically downloaded via an infected Java applet. However, Apple has so far issued two security patches that can be used to fix the Java bug.
To check to see if your Mac has been infected, you can use an online diagnostic tool at DrWeb.Com. The anti-virus program VirusBarrier is said to be effective against this Trojan, and you also can download FlashbackChecker, which is available from GitHub. In addition, comprehensive removal guides have been posted at CNET and F-Secure, a Finnish internet security company.