Bad Apples: New Virus Affecting Mac Computers

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For many Apple computer owners, the thought of a virus infecting their machine is one that rarely crosses the mind. With less than 10 percent of the market owning a Mac, malware has rarely been much of an issue. Many owners do not even install basic protection spyware on an Apple desktop or laptop, feeling as though it’s unnecessary considering that most viruses are written to affect the PC.

However, with the recent rise of the Mac Flashback Trojan horse virus, that sentiment might be changing. According to many reports, though the the virus is on a slight decline, the overall number of infected devices is much higher than originally thought. It is estimated that as many as 817,000 machines have been compromised.

From September through February of this year, the virus was spread through attacks that asked users to download a bogus Adobe Flash Player plugin, an extremely common online application. Then, in February, the malware began to be distributed through ordinary Java vulnerabilities on several websites. Once on a computer, the Trojan would allow cyber criminals to take control of the infected machine and download additional malicious software.

At this point, most reports state that the Mac Flashback Trojan virus is now dormant and the bulk of computers are no longer in immediate danger. Nevertheless, as Apple continues to expand its share of the computer market, customers ought to remain vigilant with their security software. As Vincente Diaz, researcher for the antivirus lab Kaspersky, mentioned in a recent article on techworld.com, “Apple is not used to reacting to these kinds of attack” so being proactive with your computer’s security is a must. “The Mac [Operating System] invulnerability is a myth,” added Diaz.

For defense against future malware, we recommend Sophos for the home computer, a program that also has a free app for the iPhone and iPad to help keep you as up-to-date as possible regarding the latest computer virus threats and trends. Be sure to run the application Software Update at least once a week to ensure your computer stays up to speed. If you suspect an issue with your machine has occurred, schedule a free appointment with the Apple Genius Bar to have an expert investigate.