Apple’s stellar reputation for having veritably virus free computers has been sullied by a new piece of malware called “Flashback” (its technical name is BackDoor.Flashback.39). A Trojan Horse – which is different from an actual virus, those can infect other computers – has already infected an estimated 600,000 Macs worldwide, with over half of those being in the United States.
How Do I Get The Virus and What Does This Thing Do?
Here’s the thing – you don’t have to click on any weird links, spam ads, or questionable photos – this piece of malware downloads itself. The Trojan Horse takes advantage of a known flaw in a programming language called Java, which some websites use. It then takes screen shots (showing whatever’s currently on your screen) and sends it to a remote server, meaning people can see what you see on your screen – like bank account information, personal correspondence – you get the picture.
How Can I Tell If My Mac Is Infected…And What Do I Do About It?
There are a couple of ways you can tell if your computer is infected: one involves typing some command code into your Mac…or you could go the easy way, and download these scripts to check. (Don’t worry, they won’t give you the virus – these files are promoted by a reputable tech blog, Mashable). After you download & unzip the file, just double-click on both “trojan-check” and “trojan-check-2.”
If your computer is clean, you’ll get a message that looks like this (below). The important part is that the last line says “does not exist” – i.e., your computer doesn’t have Flashback. Make sure to do this for both files.
Whether or not you have it, you need to download Apple’s new security update, which fixes the Java flaw. If your computer is infected, follow CNET’s step-by-step guide to get rid of the virus.
How Do I Make Sure I DON’T Get It?
Apple has released a software update that fixes the flaw in Java that allows the Trojan Horse to work. Just do a software update and download the new security package.
There are other things you can do to safeguard yourself – don’t click on any links no matter how funny or personal they seem (like the “hey, someone is posting real bad stuff about you!” DMs on Twitter), don’t download any suspicious software, and make sure if you’re entering personal & confidential information that your web browser address starts with https. (This means it’s secure).