Macs were long considered to be a safe platform from threats in comparison to Windows based PCs. However, the outbreak of Flashback Trojan changed the opinion of the masses. It affected more than 600,000 Macs worldwide. Cyber rogues had tricked in users to install a malware disguised as a browser plug-in. It resulted in breach of privacy of data and information from the Apple machines around the world. A recent patch containing Java update was released by Apple to counter the abuse of its security vulnerability. Nevertheless, as Mac sales and market share continues to rise, so does the threats associated with it. Let’s take a brief look at the Flashback Trojan and the measures with which you can combat a similar attack in future. Brief recap of the Flashback Trojan Flashback Trojan is programmed by cyber criminals to secretly obtain users’ passwords and other confidential information through browsers and applications like Skype. It masquerades itself as a browser add-on and deceives the user to download it from an unsafe website. The moment you click on the download link, a malicious program is released into the system which obtains confidential data and sends it back to the servers. On most of the occasions, the code installs itself without the user’s knowledge. How to detect Malware on your Mac? For general users, the simplest way to check for Flashback Trojan is to log on to Dr. Web’s online software. It is equipped with a robust database of Macs that have been infected by the malware. Mac’s distinctive hardware is scanned by Dr. Web to see if it is listed in the database. Apart from this method, you may choose to run some commands in the Terminal. It can be located from the Utilities folder that is contained in the Applications folder of your Mac. Besides, you can also do a search for ‘Terminal’ in the Spotlight. Once the Terminal opens, you will need to input the following three commands. All the three runs automatically. defaults read /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment defaults read /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES You will know that your Mac is free from infection if the domain/default pairs command displays the ‘does not exist’ message. If the machine has the particular malware, it will segregate the Flashback Trojan infested patch. . How to get rid of it? From the Terminal commands, it is possible to track the location of the malware on the system. You can then remove the infected files manually. This process requires sufficient skills and you are advised to refer to an expert’s guide for the detailed step by step process. Some recent antivirus programs also contain integrated tools that help in removal of the malware. You are also advised to change/reset passwords from any protected services rather than your infected machine. Furthermore, you can log on to the internet and check out some of the best antivirus programs available for Mac. You can get those tools for further protection. The outbreak of the Flashback Trojan has been a devastating incident in the history of Apple. The company has come out with security patches containing Java updates for the vulnerability that was exploited. You are advised to check for updates regularly and install them without failure. Try not to install any software/browser plug-ins from sites other than the trusted ones. The existing plug-ins should be kept updated at all times. Furthermore, it would be better to avoid Java based browser add-ons as they are not required for browsing sties excepting a few ones. You can use an alternate browser for the sites that require Java.
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