(EndPlay Staff Reports) - A Russian anti-virus vendor warns there are more than half a million Apple computers infected by malware, going against popular thought that Apples are virus-free.
Dr. Web stated on its site that more than 550,000 computers running Mac OS X are infected by the Trojan Backdoor.Flashback virus. The site claimed that more than 56 percent or 303,449 are in the United States and almost 20 percent or 106,379 in Canada.
Computer systems are infected by Backdoor.Flashback.39 after they are redirected to a bogus site. PCMag.com stated that websites spreading the virus were able to exploit a Java flaw and let the virus download itself onto Macs without warning.
Security firm Sophos reported that the Flashback malware is a "downloader" that lets the computer download "a further payload that can do just about anything the attackers desire." That could include stealing passwords and banking information or redirecting search engines to fraud or more malicious content.
Dr. Web's chief executive, Boris Sharov, told the BBC that criminals could potentially control the machine once the virus was installed.
"We stress the word potential as we have never seen any malicious activity since we hijacked the botnet to take it out of criminals' hands," he said. "However, we know people create viruses to get money."
Dr. Web published a list of infected websites including godofwar3.rr.nu, ironmanvideo.rr.nu and killaoftime.rr.nu. The company stated, though, that more than 4 million compromised websites were found on a Google SERP at the end of March.
Mashable also offered two scripts that can be downloaded that will check the computer for traces of the virus.
The Java flaw can be fixed by installing the latest Apple security update.
Beyond this, Sophos stated, Mac users have to be more preventive to detect and thwart future attacks.