The Number of Macs Infected Dropped Precipitously
In an April 11 blog post, officials with security software maker Symantec said that the number of infections worldwide had dropped to 270,000.
It also illustrated perceived shortcomings in Apples response. The flaw itself was not in the Mac hardware, but in Java that users had downloaded onto their Macs. Oracle had patched Windows PCs weeks ago, but Applewhich doesnt let third-parties update Apple systemsdidnt sent out the patch until April 3, about the same time Doctor Web and, soon after, Kaspersky Lab found that more than 600,000 Macs had become infected.
Flashback was first detected last year, running as a classic Trojan by masquerading as an update to Adobe Flash. However, new variants discovered in March showed it had evolved into a drive-by exploit, infecting the systems of Mac users who surfed to a compromised or malicious Website.
Within days, a host of security software vendors, including Kaspersky, Intego and F-Secure, began rolling out free tools designed to detect and remove the Flashback malware. Meanwhile, Apple officials on April 10 broke their silence, saying their engineers were working on a similar tool, which was released two days later. When F-Secure released its own tool April 11, Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen criticized Apples slow response to Flashback as inadequate.
Apple has announced that it's working on a fix for the malware, but has given no schedule for it, Hypponen wrote in a post on the companys blog April 11. Quite surprisingly, Apple hasn't added detection for Flashbackby far the most widespread OS X malware everto the built-in Xprotect OS X antivirus tool. Also note that Apple has not provided a patch for the Java vulnerability used by Flashback for OS X v10.5 (or earlier).