One of the main arguments that Mac-lovers used to claim was the fact that their machines were impervious to virus infections. Well that is not the case anymore.
Now they say Macs are almost immune to viruses, and thats a big “almost”. The reason why Macs didn’t get infected in the past was not because they had some kind of super anti-virus or because it isn’t possible to create Mac-specific viruses, it is simply because the computer market share of Apple was so insignificant, it didn’t make any sense to write viruses for Macs.
But now, with the rising popularity of Apple and its machines, it has also become increasingly popular to target Macs. It was the case last week, when a Flashback Trojan exploiting a Java vulnerability infected up to 550 thousand Macs according to some sources.
The malware was designed to install itself on unprotected Mac machines and establish a back door for the subsequent download of additional viruses. The users don’t even need to interact, a simple visit to a site loaded with the exploit code suffices for the malware to be downloaded.
On April 4th, a security update was released for OS X Java, thus plugging the security vulnerability. But this happened 6 full weeks after Windows had released a patch targeting this particular vulnerability in Java.
Granted Windows is much more experienced in dealing with virus infections, vulnerabilities and malware, if Apple doesn’t want to permanently loose its reputation as a provider of virus-free hardware and software, it needs to seriously consider investing time and energy in dealing with this kind of issues.
If you are using Mac machines and suspect your hardware might have been infected, let us know asap so that we can diagnose the issue.
[Update] On April 13th, Apple has released a software patch that removes the Flashback Trojan, and just two days later a new threat has turned up, this time using infected Office documents as a vector.