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Flashback Trojan Hits A Reported 600,000 Macs Worldwide

Screen Shot 2012-04-05 at 12.52.42 PM.pngArs Technica is pointing to a Twitter post from malware analyst, Ivan Sorokin of Dr. Web, which claims that the Flashback trojan has now managed to infect over 600,000 Macs across the globe. This even includes 274 Macs located in Cupertino*, which is where Apple is based.

Flashback first appeared last September and has since gone under several iterations (as the holes it was getting through were being patched). The latest version of Flashback was discovered earlier this week, but an update in Java from Oracle closed that hole back in February for Windows customers. Apple, who usually handles Java updates themselves, made a quick turnaround and updated Java as well.

There are reliable instructions floating around right now that allow a user to determine if they have an infected machine. Venture forth if you dare.

There are several things that should be said here. First, 600,000 Macs sounds like a lot, but compared to the installed user base, this isn’t bad. I do wonder how it compares, based on percentages, to say, a Windows infection that will go around. Secondly, Apple in recent years, has made strides when it comes to security. If a hole is found, they typically have a very fast turnaround time. It appears though, that Apple did not get this hole plugged before 600,000 customers were infected.

Lastly, it is worth remembering that this is a trojan. The end user has to install a piece of software, which is usually disguised as something harmless, to allow Flashback to get a foothold in the system. So, be careful where you get your software from.

* I suspect that these 274 Macs in Cupertino are in Apple’s labs for testing purposes.

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