Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has released a patch today that will allow users to quickly and easily remove the Flashback Trojan from their computers. The malicious virus has been prominent recently as numbers of infected Apple computer seemed to spiral out of control. Apple says the improved software they released today will prevent other malware like the Flashback Trojan and will remove most iterations of the software from user’s devices. The Flashback has been a massive blow to Apple’s security record which up until now was almost spotless. The news that the company was working on a fix for the security flaw first broke yesterday in a document from the company’s support team.
The Flashback trojan affected over 600,000 computers across the world and became a big problem for Mac users concerned about the fate of their personal data. The virus stole user names and passwords and sent them to computers around the world. It exploited a security flaw in Java that was discovered last February. The trojan itself had been known about since last September and has continued to grow in infection since then. Apple have taker clear, and hopefully successful, action on the problem though it could have been hoped that the solution came sooner. The company previously released updates that would prevent the malware from infecting new computers and the web community had made software available that could detect the software and show you how to delete it.
Apple will hope that the Flashback exploit is not one of many it has been immune to until now because of a lack of effort. The company is known for producing computers with less security flaws than Windows competitors but that may have been simply due to a lack of popularity of the devices that caused less developers of malware to work on them. Apple users do not normally use an antivirus program for that reason but now seem vulnerable in the face of increased attacks on their security. Some years ago a virus meant the disabling of a computer’s system of a drop in functionality, now it is much more dangerous. Today’s viruses, like the Flashback, steal personal data and cause real dangers in people’s lives.
The fix to the problem is contained in a 66 MB download from Apple’s software update. It supersedes previous Java updates and if you have a Mac you should certainly take the time to download it just in case.