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Hackers hitting Macs with virus: industry experts

The computer security industry buzzed Thursday with warnings that more than a half-million Macintosh computers may have been infected with a virus targeting Apple machines.

Flashback Trojan malware tailored to slip past "Mac" defenses is a variation on viruses typically aimed at personal computers (PCs) powered by Microsoft's Windows operating systems.

The infections, spotted "in the wild" by Finland-based computer security firm F-Secure and then quantified by Russian anti-virus program vendor Dr. Web, come as hackers increasingly take aim at Apple computers.

"All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world," McAfee Labs director of threat intelligence Dave Marcus told AFP.

"Mac has said for a long time that they are not vulnerable to PC malware, which is true; they are vulnerable to Mac malware."

Dr. Web determined that more than 600,000 Mac computers may be infected with Flashback, which is designed to let hackers steal potentially valuable information such as passwords or financial account numbers.

Hackers trick Mac users into downloading the virus by disguising it as an update to Adobe Flash video viewing software.

Apple has long boasted that Windows machines are more prone to hacking than Macs.

Computer security specialists contend that the reason for the disparity was that since most of the world's computers were powered by Windows, hackers focused on systems that promised the most prey.

As the popularity of Macs has soared, so has the allure of hacking Apple operating systems, according to Marcus.

"There has been a significant increase in Mac malware in the last several quarters, so what we've seen with the Flashback Trojan isn't particularly surprising," Marcus said.

"Cybercriminals will attack any operating system with valuable information, and as the popularity of Macs increase, so will attacks on the Mac platform."

Computer users, no matter their operating systems of choice, need to protect machines with tactics including up-to-date anti-virus programs and avoiding risky habits such as opening files or clicking links from unknown sources. (AFP)


<한글 기사>

믿었던 애플 맥마저..60만대 악성코드 감염

애플의 맥 컴퓨터가 심각한 악성코드 의 공격에 노출돼 있다고 러시아의 바이러스보안업체 '닥터 웹'의 보고서를 인용해 미 경제전문지 포천 등 미국 언론들이 5일(현지시간) 보도했다.

이에 따르면 닥터 웹은 전세계에서 이용되는 60만대 이상의 맥 컴퓨터가 악성코 드 플래시백 트로이 목마에 감염돼 해커 등에 의해 봇넷으로 활용될 수 있다고 전했 다.

봇넷이란 사용자도 모르는 사이에 악성코드에 감염돼 명령 서버에 의해 제어 당 하는 '좀비 PC'의 네트워크를 의미한다.

이 악성코드는 이미 감염된 웹사이트를 방문하거나 감염된 파일을  내려받기(다운로드) 하면 감염될 수 있다.

포천은 애플이 최근 이 같은 사실이 확인되면서 이를 해결할 수 있는 운영체제(OS) 소프트웨어 업데이트(Java for OS X 2012-001)를 배포했다고 전했다.

미 경제전문지 포브스는 이와 관련해 전통적으로 애플의 맥 컴퓨터 OS는 마이크 로소프트의 윈도에 비해 악성코드 감염이 거의 없어 안전한 것으로 알려졌으나 최근 맥 컴퓨터를 쓰는 이용자들이 늘어나면서 그만큼 악성코드의 표적이 될 가능성이 커 졌다고 전했다.