More than a half a million OSX operated Mac computers very well may have a virus called “Flashback” lurking in their innards. The virus works to try and gather information about your browsing activities allowing hackers to sell all that collected data.
A Russian anti-virus firm released this information last week and has been confirmed by other security firms in the following days. The virus was first discovered in September 2011 disguised as an installer for Adobe Flash, but the current version is actually a self-installing virus using a weakness in previously un-patched Java vulnerability. Users unknowingly got this version by visiting malicious websites and the virus would upload to the computer and didn’t even need the user’s admin password to install.
The Java hole was fixed a few months ago, but Apple took an oddly long time to do anything about it and has been criticized for their slow pace. You can now get Apple’s security update that addresses the issue (just go to systempreferences/softwareupdate) which were released late last week.
You can also find out if you have the virus first by following the intimidating, but actually easy steps listed by F-Secure.
- Apple Patches Up Massive Java Security Leak (mac.appstorm.net)
- Security Company Says About 600,000 Macs Infected With Trojan Virus (npr.org)