Half a million Mac users hit by Flashback virus
Published Thursday, April 5, 2012 9:36PM EDT
The legend of the virus-free Mac operating system has been proven untrue, according to a Russian web security company that claims 555,000 computers running Mac OS X have been affected by malware.
Dr. Web says its research suggests the Flashback Trojan is particularly strong in Canada and the United States, implying it seems to be targeting English-speaking users.
The virus first surfaced in its current form in February, with Apple only releasing a security update in response on Tuesday, the Russian firm said.
The virus is spread when computer users are tricked into visiting a compromised website, which then loads a malicious file onto the user's computer.
The Trojan then sends a message to the intruder's server, enabling the computer to be controlled remotely.
The Russian security company said Thursday that as many as four million web pages contained links to the compromised pages at the end of March.
Some Apple users had also reported being infected by the malware after visiting dlink.com, but this was not confirmed by Dr. Web.
Of the computers found to contain the Trojan, 56.6 per cent were in the United States, 19.8 per cent were in Canada, 12.8 per cent were in the United Kingdom and 6.1 per cent were in Australia.
The virus has gained a significant amount of attention due to Apple's reputation for being impenetrable to virus attacks, a claim that was underlined in Mac commercials that poked fun at PCs' vulnerability.
Mac users are encouraged to install the latest software update, which protects against the Trojan. This can be done by selecting "Software update" in the computer's system preferences panel.
Sites found to be fronts for the virus include:
- ustream-tv.rr.nu, and