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February 20, 2013

Apple Hacks Lead to Release of Malware Removal Tool

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

It's usually Microsoft (News - Alert) Windows that's targeted with viruses and malware attacks, as it holds the vast majority of desktop market share, and as such a virus has greater potential to do damage on the platform.

But Mac computers can still be targeted, as was the case recently in which an attack was serious enough that Apple (News - Alert) released a malware removal tool to all Mac users.

The attack first affected the computers of Apple workers when they visited a website for software developers that had been infected with malicious software. Some have suggested the website in question may have been iPhoneDevSDK.

Fortunately, according to Apple, there was no indication that any data has been taken from the company. Meanwhile, Apple's updated Java malware removal tool should remove the malware from any infected system.

"Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers," said Apple in a statement. "The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers. We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple."

What's most interesting about this attack is that it infected Macs by exploiting a flaw in a version of Oracle's (News - Alert) Java software, commonly used as a plug-in in Web browsers, which is the same type of attack recently leveled at Facebook.

In that case too, though Facebook's (News - Alert) servers were hacked, it wasn't apparent that any information was taken. According to Facebook, this same sophisticated attack method was used on other companies as well.

Unfortunately, these types of attacks are all too common, leading many large social firms such as Google putting more effort into beefing up security in order to prevent significant damage.

Edited by Braden Becker
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