I don’t want to say that I’ve been waiting for the day, but I did know that the day was coming… The seemingly impervious Mac has met it’s first virus challenge. A new computer trojan has infected 550,000 machines running Apple’s Mac OS X – and many could still be vulnerable. The infected machines are now part of a ‘botnet’ of zombie machines which can be controlled by cyber criminals and ‘told’ to download new malicious software. The attack has been described as a ‘rude awakening’ for Mac users. The new attack was spotted by Russian anti-virus vendor Dr Web. ‘We conducted research to determine the scale of spreading of Trojan BackDoor.Flashback that infects computers running Mac OS X,’ says the Russian antivirus vendor. ‘The botnet encompasses more than 550 000 infected machines, most of which are located in the United States and Canada ‘This once again refutes claims by some experts that there are no cyber-threats to Mac OS X.’ 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. Hackers want their attacks to spread rapidly, so they usually target the OS that offers the most potential ‘victims’. The attack works using a vulnerability in Java, and is delivered via infected web pages. Just visiting the web pages is enough to infect a machine, downloading a file which then downloads further malicious software from elsewhere. Dr Web claims that more than four million web pages are infected with the trojan. I’m sure there will be an anecdote, if there isn’t already, but this may bring the Mac Price Tag and Market Share on a more even level with the PC.
Have a Productive Day!
Mike Voigt (ComputerGuyNextDoor.com)