Symantec: Flashback Trojan for Mac Generates $10,000/Day
May 1, 2012 1:46 PM
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Flashback appeared in March 2012, and by April, it had infected over 600,000 Macs
Security software company Symantec released a report today showing that the Flashback trojan, which is
infecting hundreds of thousands of Mac computers
, could be generating as much as $10,000 per day.
The Flashback trojan, also known as Flashfake, disguises itself as an install Java applet on hijacked sites. When the user approves it, the trojan runs a piece of code that exploits a flaw in Java to remove OS X's anti-malware abilities. It then has the ability to steal clicks from ads on Google's search engine next to regular search results. Flashback installs alternative control programs, which turns Macs into bots. Meanwhile, the cyber criminals reap the benefits from the ghost clicks, meaning ad clicks that are not performed by a human, but by a bot instead.
Flashback appeared in March 2012, and by April, it had
infected over 600,000 Macs
. Despite efforts to eliminate the trojan, hackers are still earning fraudulent revenue from Flashback daily.
Symantec offered an example of a code that hijacked an ad based on a search for the word "toys." While Google should be making money on this ad click, the code redirects the click elsewhere, and the hackers receive 8 cents for the ghost click instead.
"It's now well-known that the latest OSX.Flashback.K variant was being distributed using the
Oracle Java SE Remote Java Runtime Environment Code Execution Vulnerability
(CVE-2012-0507), which was patched by Oracle in February," said Symantec. "Unfortunately for Mac users, there was a large window of exposure since Apple’s patch for this vulnerability was not available for six weeks.
"This window of opportunity helped the Flashback Trojan to infect Macs on a large scale. The Flashback authors took advantage of the gap between Oracle and Apple's patches by exploiting vulnerable websites using Wordpress and Joomla to add malicious code snippets."
The Symantec report was unable to come up with a definite figure regarding how much the hackers were making, but estimated that cyber criminals using hundreds of thousands of Flashback trojan infections could be making up to $10,000 on a daily basis. It came to this conclusion by comparing Flashback infections to the 2011 W32.Xpaj.B botnet in 2011, which consisted of only 25,000 Windows PCs that generated $450 per day.
Just last month, computer security company Kaspersky Labs announced that
Apple is at least 10 years behind Microsoft when it comes to security
. With Apple selling more Macs year-over-year, cyber criminals are starting to notice these computers' popularity and target them with malware attacks.
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RE: Macs... nice target over PCs
5/2/2012 1:36:17 PM
Not that I like getting dragged into these things, but that 17" Asus you linked to is 4.5 KG (off of the Asus website). That's just about 10 lbs, or nearly 50% heavier than the MacBook Pro 17". Here's a better comparison from a size perspective:
Based on the Radeon 7-series card, the Envy looks to be brand new. If the MBP were updated in the next week or two (why is it taking Apple this long to come out with their IVB machines?) the specs would likely be in line, maybe one level up from the Envy on processor and GPU.
Not bashing either side - I use Apple products, but I will freely admit that their uplevel 15" and 17" machines are anywhere between $300-500 more than they should be, even taking build quality, screen quality, and other things into account (nice backlit keyboard, great trackpad, standard bluetooth, etc). Just saying that if you're comparing Apples and oranges, at least make sure the orange is as similar as possible.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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