Flashback Trojan May Control Half a Million Macs

Flashback disguises itself as a Flash installer

Most Windows users are familiar with having to protect their computers from viruses, spyware, and malware. The increasing number of security issues on the Mac OS should make more people wary when using their Mac online.

Arstechnica reported on Thursday:

Variations of the Flashback trojan have reportedly infected more than half a million Macs around the globe, according to Russian antivirus company Dr. Web. The company made an announcement on Wednesday—first in Russian and later in English—about the growing Mac botnet, first claiming 550,000 infected Macs. Later in the day, however, Dr. Web malware analyst Sorokin Ivan posted to Twitter that the count had gone up to 600,000, with 274 bots even checking in from Cupertino, CA, where Apple’s headquarters are located.

Mac users should remember to use safe surfing habits:

  • Check the address bar to make sure you’re at the website you thought you were going to when you clicked that link.
  • Always look for a security lock on pages where you’re divulging personal information. This means the page is encrypted.
  • Don’t be tricked into clicking on links on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets that advertise offers that are too good to be true.
  • Don’t install applications that you specifically chose to download.
  • Stay away from shady websites.
  • Never open unsolicited email with attachments.
  • Don’t forward chain email.
  • There really isn’t a guy in Nigeria (or country of the week) that wants to pass 10 million dollars through your checking account.

Remember: just because you have a Mac doesn’t mean that you’re immune to viruses, spyware, or malware. Your exposure is limited but it’s out there and the increasing number of Mac users means that the bad guys see a growing target.

More information about Flashback is available at Arstechnica.

Looking for an easy way to find out if Flashback is on your mac? Mashable has scripts for that.

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