Who wrote the Flashback Trojan?

In September 2011, security companies first noticed a new malware scam for OS X, which posed as a fake Adobe Flash installer, and hence became known as Flashback. Unlike prior scams, this malware took on some new approaches to tricking users by infecting common browsers, disabling Apple's XProtect system, and eventually morphing into a Java-based exploit that resulted in approximately 600,000 Macs being infected worldwide.

The Flashback malware has been seen as one of the more widespread and successful attacks on the OS X platform, but while it was eventually snuffed out a year later, it left everyone … Read more

Flashback malware hits Macs

Newsflash: Macs do have security vulnerabilities. While people who understand how viruses and malware work have understood this for ages, Mac vulnerabilities became big news as the Flashback malware tore through the Apple community. At its peak, Flashback and its variants had infected an estimated 1 percent of the worldwide Mac population.

This one was a particularly nasty wake-up call known as a drive-by download, as it required only that you go to a Web page to become infected. Apple malware could be unusually lucrative for malware makers because Apple owners have been told implicitly for years that Macs don'… Read more

Flashback malware for OS X appears to be going extinct

Just over a year after the Flashback malware began making its appearance on OS X systems, its prevalence has dwindled to the point where, according to ESET, it appears to be going extinct.

In September 2011, Flashback debuted as a fake installer for Adobe's popular Flash plug-in, which was propagated using search-engine optimization to popularize compromised personal blogs and Web sites. While at first the malware did not gain much traction, the criminals behind it began changing their modes of attack, and in in taking advantage of an unpatched Java vulnerability it turned into a widespread drive-by download that … Read more

Apple's iOS and Android are new favorite malware victims

The online world is under siege. Computers, laptops, and mobile devices are increasingly being attacked by worms, viruses, botnets, Trojans, spam, and more.

According to a new report by McAfee (PDF), Malware is multiplying at a faster pace now than any other time in the last four years. There has been a 1.5 million increase in malware over last quarter, along with growth of newer threats, including "ransomware" attacks, thumb drive corrupters, and botnets.

While Windows PCs remain the hardest hit, there's a growing trend of attacks on Apple's Mac devices and Android smartphones.

"… Read more

Flashback makers missed out on their payday, Symantec says

The high-profile Flashback Trojan that is estimated to have infected more than 600,000 Macs at its peak earlier this year would have earned its creators $14,000 in the course of three weeks.

The only hitch is that the money isn't going anywhere.

In a blog post today, security firm Symantec says the pay-per-click provider the malware makers were using spotted the activity as fraudulent.

"Many (pay-per-click) providers employ anti-fraud measures and affiliate-verification processes before paying. Fortunately, the attackers in this instance appear to have been unable to complete the necessary steps to be paid," the … Read more

Apple releases Flashback removal tools for OS X 10.5

In September 2011, Apple stopped software support for OS X 10.5 in favor of OS X 10.6 or later, including security updates for the older OS. However, in light of the recent malware attacks that have left users of OS X 10.5 vulnerable to exploit, and perhaps following recent criticism of its approaches to security, Apple has issued new tools to help users of OS X 10.5 better secure their systems.

After Flashback malware hit headlines in early August, a number of security companies released Flashback detection and removal tools that automated the manual steps for … Read more

Kaspersky: Apple needs to face up to Mac threats

Last updated: 12:18 p.m. PT.

One of Apple's more outspoken critics investigated the security of the Mac OS, and the company may not be too happy with the results.

Apple is turning a blind eye to the security of its operating system, says Kaspersky Chief Technology Officer Nikolai Grebennikov, who conducted an analysis of the platform independent of Apple. Kaspersky has concluded that the company isn't taking the security of its own platform seriously enough.

In an interview with computing.co.uk, Grebennikov said the Mac is "really vulnerable" to malware, pointing to the … Read more

Mac malware infection rates remaining constant

Following the Flashback malware and the estimates of 600,000 Mac systems being infected, security companies have been steadily tracking the communications done by the malware on infected systems. In recent weeks, the data from these monitoring efforts have suggested that despite early reports of the malware levels sinking rapidly from efforts by Apple, news organizations, and anti-malware companies, the levels of infections appears to be remaining constant.

The spread Flashback malware was facilitated by a neglected security hole in Apple's Java runtime for OS X, and at its peak had infected around one percent of Mac systems. To … Read more

Flashback creators netted $10,000 per day at its height?

Apple's Flashback Trojan was a major concern for Mac OS X users. But it might have also been a huge revenue opportunity for its creators.

According to security firm Symantec, which has been analyzing Flashback, the Trojan known as OSX.Flashback.K included a significant ad-clicking component that the company says, was designed to help the creators generate revenue.

"Flashback specifically targets search queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker's choosing, where they receive revenue from the click," Symantec wrote in a blog post. &… Read more

Snow Leopard hit hardest by Flashback malware

Russian security company Dr. Web recently analyzed one of the latest known variants of the Flashback malware for OS X, and in doing so revealed some interesting statistics regarding the infection rates of the malware -- which, by some perspectives, counters criticism of Apple's lapse in attention to security on OS X.

Since its initial findings of Flashback, Dr. Web has been continually gathering data from infected systems by using sinkhole techniques where its analysts took over the domains used by the malware and were able to intercept communications by the malware on infected systems. As part of the … Read more