Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Apple Malware Attack: Is My Mac Infected?

There have been reports of the malware which has been targeting and infecting many apple products and particularly the Mac computers. The apple malware attack has created and raised great furor and greatly put to the sword the earlier invulnerability that was associated with the apple computers. The malware has been identified as the flashback Trojan which is a terrible piece of code which brings about lots of terrible damage creating great fear since reports put the number of affected apple users way above the half a million mark specifically in areas like Europe, America, specific regions in Asia, Australia and spreading more and more like the bush fire. The flashback botnet has had unique characteristics which include preying and specifically targeting Java vulnerabilities. Another characteristic is that the attack occurs unnoticed. Initially, the earlier versions of the flashback malware were designed to replicate the adobe flash player and often confused people into clicking onto it and then the malware would unwittingly get introduced into the Mac computer often with devastating results. The piece of malware has now evolved and will infect a Mac computer even without the knowledge of the user through the simple visit to a website which is already laden with the flashback Trojan. This implies that the piece of malware has become extremely virulent and this has made it spread very fast since the attack has become the drive-by attack. A computer which forms part of a botnet pool is never under the control of its rightful owner and can be used to perpetrate the denial of service attacks and all other manner security violations which are done by the malicious controllers of the botnet.

The capabilities of this malware are grave in the manner in which it is able to influence how the affected Mac computer behaves. It has created a worldwide dangerous botnet which is able to sniff and retrieve passwords both for user accounts and other loads of data collected from details of financial transactions and other information on credit cards. The biggest headache for many users has been that they have been left without known measures on how to prevent and remove the flashback malware from already affected Mac computers. Even though apple has come up with security patches which are able to seal the vulnerability areas, a solution is still not found for the users who are already affected by the malware. The debate has been extensive as to the kind of security measures which can be taken to tackle this problem. One school of thought has completely negated the fact that the flashback malware is Trojan and that the measures which have been in place to deal with Trojans will not work out well in eliminating the problem. Even with the continued debate on which would be the best way to deal with this software, reports continue to emerge of the increased number of attacks which have been perpetrated by this piece of malware. The good thing though has been that some of the internet security companies have worked extremely hard to come up with solutions to this problem via the use of antivirus software akin to that used for the Windows computers. The antivirus software created will be in a position to detect and work to remove the flashback malware.

Now, many people will want to be in full control of their machines and this will always have to do with the fear of a personal computer or computers on a network for companies and institutions being part of a botnet. The other fear is that to do with having the malware in the computer and this malware capturing sensitive information like the passwords to credit cards and other financial information. Here is a small process of how to go about identifying if the specific Mac computer that an individual is utilizing is infected with the flashback botnet. The best way to about protecting the Mac computer is to check for the most up to date java software that has been released from apple. The update can be done from the apple menu on the title bar. This way an individual is assured that the computer is not open to attacks by the flashback malware. The procedure to follow is though clicking on the apple icon on the title bar menu and proceeding to software update section. Here check for updates applicable and select all the java related ones and any other settings involved with security. Then install the updates and restart the computer to secure the computer. The other method of going about protecting the Mac computer will be through the disabling the java software if an individual is not in need of any functionality from the java scripts. The java scripts are the main way the flashback malware gets to infect the computer. The disabling is done from the java preference settings which are found on the browser.

The best way to detect if a computer has been infected with the flashback malware is through the Kaspersky flashfake removal tool which will scan the computer to identify whether it is really affected by the flashback malware. This tool will move forward and remove all of the flashback malware from the infected Mac computer and this is through simple instructions which will be provided in using the free removal tool on the website. Kaspersky has also on their website provided a sure method of identifying if a specific Mac computer is infected through its identification number. This one is compared with the list of Mac computers found on the database of infected apple computers or rather those already on the flashback botnet. On the website still it is possible to authenticate if the java software in use is the latest and updated software version which will prevent attacks from the flashback malware. Another way is through the Dr. Web's online Web utility which also tracks UUID's of infected Mac computers.

A word of caution goes to the people out there who have had their Mac computers infected with the malware to avoid the lure of purchasing the many anti-malware options provided by the anti-malware and internet security vendors. The issue of antivirus software is a contentious one with many of these antiviruses not being in a position to fully detect the viruses and the Trojans. Most of the options provided are scandalous since they will want to prey on a desperate situation to sell scareware software which does not work at all in providing security features or doing away with the malware.

Guardian Network Solutions or GNS is an IT solutions value-added reseller that specializes in providing malware removal tools for businesses, government, and education organizations as well as home users. GNS Solutions Professionals work with manufacturers and businesses of various sizes to find secure, cost-effective solutions, and currently provide the fastest and easiest transactions for users of all sizes.

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