Half a million Mac users may be discovering an unwelcome surprise when opening their computers: a virus, designed to access and steal personal information.
It's reportedly the largest attack ever on the Mac operating system.
Almost 60 percent of the Macs infected are in the U.S., while another 20 percent are infected.
The virus, called the Flashback Trojan, gets into computers through Java software. It was originally found in September 2011 masquerading as a fake plug-in installer for Adobe Flash Player, but has evolved in the months. It uses Java's vulnerabilities to target Mac operating systems.
simply visiting a malicious Web site containing Flashback on an OS X system with Java installed will result in one of two installation routes. The malware will request an administrator password, and if one is supplied, it will install its package of code into the Applications folder. If a password is not offered, the malware will install to the user accounts where it can run in a more global manner.
Once installed, the Flashback will inject code into Web browsers and other applications like Skype to harvest passwords and other information from those program's users.
Security company F-Secure has published instructions on how to determine whether your Mac is infected with the virus. Click here to see them.
Apple says it has released a fix for the virus. You can make sure your computer is protected by updating the software.
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