Your snotty PC using friends who have been talking for the last 15 years about how Mac viruses will be on the rise any day now will love knowing that the Flashback Trojan virus has reportedly infected 600,000 Macs out in the wild. The news came from a Tweet by Russian malware analyst company Dr. Web, which declared that 57 percent of the infected Macs are located in the US and 20 percent in Canada, including 274 machines in Cupertino. The virus has been altered by its makers since September to take advantage of various exploits, the most recent of which allows it to infect machines through Java while visiting infected websites. Here’s a bit from Dr. Web:
[quote]The exploit saves an executable file onto the hard drive of the infected Mac machine. The file is used to download malicious payload from a remote server and to launch it. Doctor Web found two versions of the Trojan horse: attackers started using a modified version of BackDoor.Flashback.39 around April 1.[/quote]
Apple recently plugged the Java hole with an update, but OS X does not come with Java pre-installed, and so unless you’ve done so manually, your computer is not vulnerable to this specific infection. Antivirus firm F-Secure offers steps to determine if you’ve been infected or not, and explains how to fix the issue.
Malware is a bit of a hot-button topic for both fans and haters of the Mac: Fans naively say it’s impossible to infect a Macintosh, haters say… well, lots of stupid crap. What is true is that malware is a rare sight for Macs and most users will never encounter it, but this can make people lazy and give them a false sense of security. Be sure to use your brain when you’re browsing because, as of today, 600,000 Mac users will tell you it’s far from impossible to be infected.