Flashback Virus Infects Mac OS X, "Say What?"

Monsters Inc. - Image (borrowed for effect)

Don't pay no mind to the elephant in the room, the monster under the bed, the virus on your Mac...

If you did a double take at the latter, don't worry - so did I. I am an Apple user and have been since the birth of the personal computing age. It's true. I graduated from a Commodore 64 to an Apple IIgs, and then to a Mac 512k, and then a Plus, and then to an SE and I've never looked back. I was there for the various virus infections of 1988 and 1989, distributed on the MacWorld Software CD collections. I was there when Rhapsody was conceived and then never born. I was there... Yeah, you want to know more about this virus.

Okay, it apparently started with the following report:


Dr. Web is a Russian cyber security firm and anti-virus vendor and after conducting a study they estimated that up to 500,000 Macs were infected wih a malware package known as Flashback. Flashback variants have been around for a little while, but it appears they've gotten even sneakier and if you haven't updated your Java using Apples Software Update utility, then your computer may still be vulnerable.

A few caveats for those prone to panic attacks. You can only be infected if you navigate to a website hosting the malware files. If you have any of the following applications on your computer - the malware will not install and will delete itself. This is possibly because the following list of software are incomptaible with the malware payload and would give away the malware's presence if lauched on an infected computer.

  • Little Snitch
  • Xcode
  • VirusBarrier X6.app
  • iAntiVirus.app
  • avast!.app
  • ClamXav.app
  • HTTPScoop.app
  • Packet Peeper.app
  • Microsoft Word.app
  • Microsoft Office 2008
  • Microsoft Office 2011
  • Skype.app

You can download a free removal tool from F-secure.

Read more of this sensational development in malware attacks on the Mac but don't panic. Update your software regularly and keep your browsing habits clean and you'll avoid catching the plague.