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

(View all)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
109 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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Apple Seeds First Public Beta of watchOS 7 to Public Beta Testers

Monday August 10, 2020 10:33 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public beta of an upcoming watchOS 7 update to public beta testers, one week after seeding the fourth beta to developers and a month and a half after the Worldwide Developers Conference. The update can be downloaded after installing the proper profile from Apple's Public Beta website. watchOS 7 should not be installed on a primary device as it is still an early...

Apple Watch Likely to Adopt MicroLED Display Technology in 3-4 Years

Monday August 10, 2020 2:55 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to feature an OLED screen like previous models, but a future model is likely to be the first Apple product to adopt MicroLED display technology, albeit not for another three to four years. That's the main takeaway reading between the lines of comments made by the chairman of Epistar, Taiwan's top LED producer, which is reportedly working on a...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...