Lifestyle and Emerging Technology In Plain English

Macintosh Java malware has mutated!

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Over the last few weeks we’ve read that hundreds of thousands of Apple Macintosh computers running OSX have become infected with the Flashback trojan, which is a type of virus that could, through a hole in Java security, infect your Mac and connect it to a botnet of over half a million other Macs.

And we’ve also read that Apple has released updates to fix the security problem and clean up any infected computers.

The problem is, the Flashback.s malware is pretty tricky and, it seems, is able to hide from Apple’s latest fix:

“On Monday, however, researchers at Intego, another computer security firm, discovered that a new variant of the malware, called Flashback.S, continued to spread through the same Java vulnerability. Security researchers said the variant was “actively being distributed in the wild” and noted that the malware deletes traces of itself on victims’ machines to avoid detection.
The original Flashback variant used infected computers for click fraud, in which clicks on a Web advertisement are manipulated in exchange for kickbacks. Intego researchers did not say what the new variant of Flashback is being used for. But as with all malware, its creators can choose to use infected computers however they like.”

So, what’s a body to do?
SoftwareUpdate.jpgWell, right now, there doesn’t seem to be a fix addressed directly at this Flashback variant. That being said, I’m sure that Apple and security companies are on it and will have updates available shortly.

In the meantime, the first thing is to make sure your Mac is happily protected updated with the latest software updates and patches from Apple — here’s how to check on your Mac.

Then, you’ll likely want to look into some sort of antivirus or security software. Future Shop has a whole host of solutions here.

And finally, you’ll want to improve your downloading habits. Remember, you are your Mac’s best security:

  • Use common sense when considering downloading a file
  • Only download files from large, reputable sites
  • Keep your system software (step one above) and anti-malware software (step two above) up to date with the latest malware definitions and patches

Ultimately, the best way to protect your computer is to keep an ear open to the current virus activity. By staying informed, there are fewer chances you’ll fall prey to a carefully crafted scheme to get malware on your precious Mac.

So, got a Mac? How do you keep it safe?

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