Apple Inc. (AAPL) Computers Still Affected By Flashback Trojan

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Computers Still Affected By Flashback Trojan
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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is known for being pretty good about the security of its computers and other devices. However, apparently a virus which first surfaced in 2011 is still actively infecting Apple computers. That’s according to a post this week from Intego, a Mac security software company.

How the Flashback Trojan virus works

The virus is known as OSX / Flashback.A, or just Flashback for short. Starting in 2011 and running through 2012, it had captured approximately 650,000 Apple computer users in a botnet. The virus was tricking users into installing a Flash player package which was malicious using social engineering techniques. Later new versions of the virus utilized exploits of Java and also drive-by downloads.

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After the virus is installed on an Apple computer, it creates a backdoor and then is able to capture virtually any activity which is done on the computer. Hackers have almost open access to these computers and are able to steal usernames and passwords and do just about anything else they want to these infected machines.

Apple’s protections prove ineffective

In 2012, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Product Security Response team pushed out security updates, a Malware Removal tool and Xprotect but Intego reported that these measures only divided the count of infected computers by six. Apple then took steps to close down the malicious domains, acquiring all of the generated domains through the end of 2013. However, Intego says all of that wasn’t enough.

The company said it bought some of the “command and control” server domain names so that it can monitor the threat posed by the Flashback Trojan virus. Starting on Jan. 2, the firm studied the domains it had acquired and recorded the connections showing where the virus is still active on Apple computers and trying to reach the command and control servers.

After five days, they discovered that there are still at least 22,000 machines infected by the virus. In addition, they said although the malicious domains are still registered by Apple, the virus’ author could buy back those domain names in the future. Other hackers could also gain control of the botnet if security researchers stop watching the domains. Conveniently, Intego offers an antivirus product which they said can find and remove the Flashback and other malware on Apple computers.

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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief for and has been with the site since 2012. Previously, she was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Email her at
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  1. I love how quickly people write off how inherently secure the Mac OS is and simply (and incorrectly) tout the security by obscurity argument.

  2. VIRUS: I sneeze, and you get sick (Macs do not catch these)
    TROJAN: Somebody offers you a nice shiny apple, and you are silly enough to swallow it down even though it is filled with poison (be careful what you put in your mouth)

  3. It is true a Trojan isn’t technically a virus, but that doesn’t matter, Mac users do need to have their computers checked.

    BTW, people should ignore your advice since you are incapable or unwilling to know/recognize when you should capitalize words.

  4. A trojan is not a virus. I would be wary of taking any advice or believing any report from an Individual or organization Whose statements suggest They are incapable or unwilling to know/recognize the difference.

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