the Mac virus called Flashback has proven that Macs are not, in fact, impentrable. Last week, a Russian-based security company called Dr. Web reported that up to 600,000 Macs appeared to be part of a growing botnet.
Mike Geide, senior security researcher at ZScaler, said in a statement that Mac virus should be a wake-up call for Mac users. To improve Mac security in the future, Geide recommends that users update Java regularly and automate their computers to check for security updates. He also recommended that users install some kind of antivirus software.
So what exactly is Flashback? The Mac virus known as Flachback started out as a Trojan (malicious code that is hidden within another file) that masqueraded as an Adobe Flash Installer. The user had to launch the installer and provide an administrative password with this version. The current version exploits a weakness in the Java software framework and can infect computers without the user having to do anything.
Oracle, Java’s developer, patched this flaw earlier this year. Since Apple uses its own version of Java, they were slower to respond. Apple released an update for its Java on Tuesday, April 3.
Over half of the computers infected by the Mac virus are in the United States and Canada. Directions on how to check your device to see if it has been infected as well as how to manually disinfect your Mac can be found here.
There are some practices that users should use to avoid getting infected to begin with. For example, don’t click links or open attachments on emails unless you are positive you trust the person who sent it. Also, any time you are filling out a form online with personal or financial information, make sure you see an “https” and the start of the web address. If it’s not there, there is a good chance you have been redirected to a fake site.