“Macs don’t get viruses.” A common thing we hear around the Geek Squad – and a common misconception. One that is playing out at this very moment, as a large portion of Mac users in the United States are at risk of being infected with the Mac Bot-Net infection.
Originally started off as a fake Adobe Flash Player plug-in installer, in recent months this infection has grown to exploit Java vulnerabilities on Mac computers.
How does it happen? By simply visiting a malicious site, users run the risk of their Mac computer being infected by the “Flashback” infection, and unknowingly becoming part of a bot-net network. When accessing a compromised site, the malware will install itself via a Java exploit.
It happens one of two ways. One: It either asks you to enter in an administrator password, and promptly installs the malware code into the Applications folder. Two: if a password isn’t required, the malware simply installs to the user accounts on the machine, where it can be run in a more global manner. Once installed, the infection injects code into web browsers and other applications (such as Skype) to gather passwords and other personal information from those program’s users.
“How can I prevent this from happening?”, you may be asking. Answer: by making sure you regularly install all critical Apple updates on your Mac. Apple released a patch that fixes this issue and removes the vulnerability. As of April 3rd 2012, all you need to do is perform an Apple Software Update to prevent this issue. With this patch Apple has been able to fully addressed any vulnerability and prevent it from spreading.
As always, it is good practice to update all of your software — not only to keep up with changes in functionality of the operating system, but to also help with bug fixes and vulnerabilities such as the one experienced in the above infection. Should you require assistance, Geek Squad Agents are standing by 24/7/365 online, by phone at 1-800-GEEK-SQUAD, or at Geek Squad Precincts in a Best Buy store near you.
-Agent David S.