Macintosh Java malware has mutated!


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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