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Flashback Malware Still Affecting over 100,000 Macs

While Apple has pushed out several software updates to detect the Flashback malware and remove it from infected systems, Symantec noted late yesterday that over 100,000 machines remain afflicted by the issue as detected by their sinkhole operation to redirect server traffic.


Symantec pegged the number at approximately 142,000 as of Monday, listing a rough estimate of "over 99,000" as yesterday's data was still coming in. Those numbers are down from a peak of over 600,000 machines two weeks ago, but a substantial number of machines are still infected by the malware.
The statistics from our sinkhole are showing declining numbers on a daily basis. However, we had originally believed that we would have seen a greater decline in infections at this point in time, but this has proven not to be the case. Currently, it appears that the number of infected computers has tapered off, but remains around the 140,000 mark.

As there have been tools released by Symantec and other vendors in the past few days concerning this threat, the infection numbers should have seen a dramatic decrease by now.
Symantec also takes a look at the domain name generator that allows infected machines to connect to their command-and-control servers to receive instructions. The generator uses a list of 14-character strings rotated each day, coupling each string with one of five top-level domains (.com, .net, .info, .in, or .kz) to find its instructions.

The report also claims that Flashback-infected systems can receive updated command-and-control server locations through Twitter, although no details on that process are provided. A similar claim was made for earlier versions of Flashback, although there has apparently been no demonstration of the Twitter delivery method actually being used.

Top Rated Comments

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31 months ago
I don't understand the concern everyone has. One trojan that infected 1% of Macs (thats right, 1%) and is easily fixed with an update compared to over a million known malware variants on Windows systems is nothing.
Rating: 7 Votes
31 months ago
Seems like a lot, but I guess not as a percentage. Still, new threats, I fear, will soon become the norm.

It was good while it lasted.


I hope I'm wrong.
Rating: 6 Votes
31 months ago
Do we really need antivirus software for Macs? I mean, assuming the growth of the platform, and that more and more malicious programs will be written.. I consider myself pretty smart in avoiding infection, but it only takes one savy developer to trick you with some method you didn't anticipate..

I don't have any type of security software.. Should I? If so, which is the best for Mac?
Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago

As I installed today's Flash update, I thought to myself: how am I supposed to know if this is really Flash, or if this is actually a trojan?

Don't act on someone else's initiative. Act on your own.
If you see on some news site, or via some popup dialog, that Flash (or any other software) is updated, then go to the download site by yourself, or invoke the update process provided in the software.

Let's say that Software Update says that there's some software that needs to be updated. Read what the update is about and click [Cancel]. Then, you go to Software Update by your own action and run it. If it says the same thing as before, you go ahead and upgrade.

The first instance COULD've been a Trojan that just happens to mask itself as Software Update, or Flash updater, or some other updater/installer.
But, if you run through the process by your self manually, and according to standard procedure, you won't invoke any Trojan.

…probably. If you follow this, you won't get infected by ANY trojan that I know of and you won't get phished, or scammed by any email.
Rating: 5 Votes
31 months ago


[*]Deactivate Java completely, you will never need it. And if you really are one in a million, who needs it, get familiar with the threats that come along with it.
[/LIST]



Like the millions who play Minecraft?
Rating: 4 Votes
31 months ago

You know I don't like to spread conspiracy garbage. But on this topic every story says these are estimated numbers or a best guess. Even still 100,000 is less than 1% of Mac users. How is this even an outbreak or panic like the media is portraying? I've gone around and checked about 100 of the machines at my work not a single one of them was infected. None of my friends have been infected and none of my home machines have been infected. So I'm starting to believe this is all BS that the antivirus companies are putting out so that you purchase their software subscriptions. I just feel they really want to be in the Mac market and capture Windows switchers.


The starting number was around 600 000 or 1% of mac computers worldwide. That's on par with the Conficker outbreak which is the largest outbreak in the history of Windows, AFAIK. Of course, many more Windows machines were infected but taking the total number of Windows machines into account the percentage of infected machines was around 1%.

Conficker was a fairly sofisticated worm with implementations of quite a lot of different attacks. In that light, 1% for the comparatively much simpler Flashback malware is actually very widespread. The two month delay in releasing the fix was probably a big contributing factor along with the widespread belief that Macs don't get viruses.

It great to see that the number has gone down but 100 000 infected is still nothing to sneeze at (excuse the punnage).
Rating: 4 Votes
31 months ago

1% who has reported the issue, which is about the amount of mac users who join forums.
The other 99% may be infected and may not know because they have been told the mac is "safe" and protected from such things.


No the 1% is the actual number of infected whether they know it or not.

http://www.redmondpie.com/apple-releases-standalone-flashback-malware-removal-tool-for-non-java-mac-users-download-now/ (http://www.redmondpie.com/apple-releases-standalone-flashback-malware-removal-tool-for-non-java-mac-users-download-now/)

They don't measure it by the amount of people reporting it, they measure it by seeing what the trojan is doing.
Rating: 4 Votes
31 months ago

You know I don't like to spread conspiracy garbage. But on this topic every story says these are estimated numbers or a best guess. Even still 100,000 is less than 1% of Mac users. How is this even an outbreak or panic like the media is portraying? I've gone around and checked about 100 of the machines at my work not a single one of them was infected. None of my friends have been infected and none of my home machines have been infected. So I'm starting to believe this is all BS that the antivirus companies are putting out so that you purchase their software subscriptions. I just feel they really want to be in the Mac market and capture Windows switchers.


I love how antivirus companies are viewed as parasitic idiots out to do nothing more than tarnish the good name of Apple here in Macland. Oh no! They can't be trusted! OSX is completely secure! I don't know anyone infected with this not-a-virus-rather-a-trojan, so all they must be doing is trying to drum up a panic so they can get more sales for their crappy software!

No. The media isn't portraying this as a huge outbreak and/or panic. It's not like all the tech sites are going to town with it like the news did with SARS a few years back. They're just reporting it. 100,000 Macs are potentially infected. If you're one of those unknowingly infected people, you probably want to know about it. Simple as that.

Don't take it so personally.
Rating: 3 Votes
31 months ago

I don't understand the concern everyone has. One trojan that infected 1% of Macs (thats right, 1%) and is easily fixed with an update compared to over a million known malware variants on Windows systems is nothing.

Microsoft has a weekly (every Tuesday) release of security updates & patches. To apply them it's just like a software update on a Mac, automatic & easy. Just one click to launch and in minutes you're set.

The only difference is MS has expertise with this & Apple doesn't (Yet). As much as some Mac users need to pump up their ego by bashing MS, you're wasting your time & revealing a lack of current knowledge.

Forget the myths, they're propagated by the unaware.

Neither my Mac or Windows computers have crashed, or been infected in many years. Not even a BSOD. Theyre just computers. Learn safe computing & enjoy trouble free sessions.
Rating: 3 Votes
31 months ago
I keep getting the feeling its going to be the same people again and again. And these problem would seem to indicated maybe bit torrent?:rolleyes:
Rating: 3 Votes

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