Hackers hitting Macs with virus

2012-04-06 07:00
San Francisco - The computer security industry buzzed with warnings that more than a half-million Macintosh computers may have been infected with a virus targeting Apple machines.

Flashback Trojan malware tailored to slip past "Mac" defences is a variation on viruses typically aimed at personal computers (PCs) powered by Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The infections, spotted "in the wild" by Finland-based computer security firm F-Secure and then quantified by Russian anti-virus program vendor Dr Web, come as hackers increasingly take aim at Apple computers.

"All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world," said McAfee Labs director of threat intelligence Dave Marcus.

"Mac has said for a long time that they are not vulnerable to PC malware, which is true; they are vulnerable to Mac malware."

Prey

Dr Web determined that more than 600 000 Mac computers may be infected with Flashback, which is designed to let hackers steal potentially valuable information such as passwords or financial account numbers.

Hackers trick Mac users into downloading the virus by disguising it as an update to Adobe Flash video viewing software.

Apple has long boasted that Windows machines are more prone to hacking than Macs.

Computer security specialists contend that the reason for the disparity was that since most of the world's computers were powered by Windows, hackers focused on systems that promised the most prey.

As the popularity of Macs has soared, so has the allure of hacking Apple operating systems, according to Marcus.

"There has been a significant increase in Mac malware in the last several quarters, so what we've seen with the Flashback Trojan isn't particularly surprising," Marcus said.

"Cybercriminals will attack any operating system with valuable information, and as the popularity of Macs increase, so will attacks on the Mac platform."

Computer users, no matter their operating systems of choice, need to protect machines with tactics including up-to-date anti-virus programs and avoiding risky habits such as opening files or clicking links from unknown sources.
Read more on:    apple  |  cybercrime  |  computing

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.