Mac users have been hit recently by the Flashback trojan. I was thinking this Flashback trojan malware might perform some sort of retro wizardry that morphs your Mac back into an Apple 1, the first Apple computer that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created in the garage of their Los Altos home back in 1976.
Not that kind of flashback? OK, maybe a stretch But hey, this is a gadget site, I had to tie in a gadget somehow … and besides, the Apple 1 is pretty cool, don’t you think?
Computer malware has primarily been the scourge of Windows based PCs. You don’t often hear about Apple computers and Macs having a problem with computer viruses and malware. In fact, Apple users will often site the superior security and safety of Apple computers as one of the preferred advantages over Microsoft Windows and PCs.
Admittedly, the malicious creators of computer malware have historically focused their efforts toward Windows based PCs with a much larger user footprint out there. After all, the goal of a someone who creates a computer virus is to impact as many people as possible, so they go where the numbers are. Apple computers have only accounted for about 10% of the computers out there, although that number is climbing with the advent of iPads and the increasing popularity of Apple products.
But Apple computers are not impervious to malware. It is possible to create a Mac virus, and we’ve seen a bit more Mac malware activity recently. With the latest being this Flashback trojan. Officially called BackDoor.Flashback.39, the Mac trojan exploit originally started as a phony Adobe Flash player installer that surfaced sometime last September (2011).
In its first incarnation, Flashback was pretty harmless and easy enough to avoid. But the trojan has evolved into a more serious threat by exploiting unpatched security holes in Java which Apple has now addressed. The Flashback trojan is estimated to have infected more than 600,000 Mac computers worldwide, with most of the impact in the U.S and Canada.
Tools to check for the Flashback Trojan on your Mac
- Online Tool from Dr. Web to check if you’ve been infected with Backdoor.Flashback.39
- FlasbackChecker from GitHub is a program you can install to check for the Flashback trojan.
How to remove the Flashback Trojan from your Mac
- CNET has provided this step-by-step guide that explains how to remove Backdoor.Flashback.39
- Flashback removal instructions from Finnish security company F-Secure.
Computer viruses, trojans and worms are no fun. And while malware may be the familiar, almost daily occurrence for Windows PC users, it looks like Apple and Mac users will likely see more of the same in the future as well.