After Flashback, the Macs Aura of Invulnerability Is Gone Forever

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-04-11 Print this article Print


5. It€™s scary

Make no mistake: Flashback is one scary Trojan. The payload injects itself into Mac OS X and tries to gain administrator privilege by duping people into believing the Adobe Flash Player needs to be updated. Along the way, it steals usernames and passwords for the many sites a person visits. It€™s an extremely insidious Trojan.

6. The malware creators aren€™t backing down

According to security researchers, new variants of the Flashback Trojan keep cropping up on the Web, seeming to indicate that the malware€™s authors aren€™t willing to back down just yet. With that in mind, Apple says that it€™s working with international ISPs to take down the servers that are hosting the malware, but until then, don€™t expect Flashback to go away anytime soon.

7. Apple has been criticized for a slow response

Apple has come in the crosshairs of many security researchers and advocates who say that the company might have acted somewhat slowly to the outbreak. Flashback was known for weeks before it became a big news story. Only after that happened did Apple release its patch. Granted, that might have been a coincidence and the company might have been working on a fix for some time, but the timing didn€™t look right.

8. It speaks of more trouble to come

Although Flashback could be worse, it indicates that Mac OS X isn€™t nearly as successful at stopping Trojans as previously believed. The operating system is certainly secure and one might argue it has more safeguards in place than Windows, but to believe that more trouble won€™t be coming after Flashback would be a mistake.

9. Security firms were behind

Unfortunately, security firms just aren€™t up to par when it comes to handling Mac OS X security threats. In the case of Flashback, for example, security firms didn€™t initially respond to the threat with some semblance of a solution for a couple days, allowing the Trojan to spread and work unchecked during that time. That said, it€™s important to note that users haven€™t really safeguarded themselves, so they must share the blame.

10. Stopping Java use in the browser will help

Finally, keep in mind that since Java is the issue with Flashback, it can be controlled by eliminating Java use in the browser. Granted, it might not be the most convenient or worthwhile solution, but it€™s the safest solution for now. All major browsers advise users to turn off Java.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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