“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This old saying may be good advice, but it doesn’t mean you should forego immunizations and regular checkups. The same goes for your computer, no matter what operating system it has.
Recently, the most prolific Apple Trojan ever, called “Flashback,” infected an estimated 600,000 Mac computers. To make matters worse, the “Flashback” Trojan doesn’t even need users to enter their system password to infect the system. Instead it uses a weakness found in Java SE6. All a user has to do to become infected is visit an infected website. While “Flashback” will prompt the user to enter the administrative password, it will install itself onto the system regardless of whether the user enters it. Once the user’s system has been infected, “Flashback” will hijack the Safari browser each time it launches and redirect the user to a targeted website, thus creating a zombie computer network called a “botnet.”
Apple released a Java patch on April 3 to fix this vulnerability. According to their support page (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5244), Apple is “developing software that will detect and remove the Flashback malware.”
So why does this “Flashback” Trojan matter? It highlights the fact that no computer system is invulnerable to attacks. While some systems may promise fewer threats overall, it only takes one to compromise the security of your system.
All computer users, regardless of platform, should have an anti-virus program and firewall implemented on their system. Users should make sure it is up-to-date, setup to run in real time, and scheduled to regularly scan the hard drive. After all, an apple a day might be good for you, but vaccinations and checkups are important to overall good health.