A week after more than half a million Mac computers were infected by a new version of malicious software, Apple (AAPL: Quote) has vowed to strike down the new Flashback Trojan.
Apple revealed in a support document Wednesday that it is currently "developing a software that will detect and remove the Flashback malware", but has not said when it will release the tool.
The malicious software called "Flashback" exploits a security flaw in Java, a popular programming language for making webpages, in order to install itself on Macs.
Apple, which has now publicly acknowledged the virus strike, has already released a Java update last week on April 3 that fixes the Java security flaw for systems running OS X v10.7 and Mac OS X v10.6.
However, for Macs running Mac OS X v10.5 or earlier, the used can better protect themselves from the malware by disabling Java under the web browser preferences.
Apple has advised its Mac users to run the software update option in their systems at any time to manually check for the latest updates to download or the Macs will normally automatically check for software updates every week.
The malware does not need the user to manually click on any malicious links or manually download it to get infected. It just downloads itself and then provides the malware creators unauthorized access to the victim's computer, who can then choose to use infected computers as they like, particularly for data theft such as passwords.
Apple also said it was working with Internet service providers to disable the Flashback command and control network so that infected computers cannot be further controlled by the malware creators.
The new Trojan is known as BackDoor.Flashback.39 and is of the OS X malware family that modifies the content displayed by web browsers to get itself automatically downloaded by redirecting the user to bogus websites that spread the virus.
According to reports, the malware has already infected about 550,000 computers running the Mac OS X, with about 303,000 of them being in the U.S., about 106,000 in Canada, about 69,000 in the U.K., and about 33,000 in Australia.
This is said to be the largest scale attack on Mac OS X to date and much more sophisticated. Users of Mac computers like to brag that viruses pose no threat to their machines, while Windows PC's are prone to a constant barrage of malware.
This is not the first time the Mac users have been attacked by a Windows-like computer virus. However, the attacks have been very few due to the lower percentage of Mac users.
Last year, Mac users confronted a malware called Mac Defender, which was identified by virus security firm Intego in May 2011, and Apple crafted a detection-and-deletion utility for the virus within a week.
by RTT Staff Writer
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