Half a Million Mac Computers Infected With Trojan

More than half a million Apple computers have been infected with the Flashback Trojan, according to a Russian anti-virus firm. Its report claims that about 600,000 Macs have installed the malware – potentially allowing them to be hijacked and used as a “botnet”.

The firm, Dr Web, says that more than half that number are based in the US. Apple has released a security update, but users who have not installed the patch remain exposed. Flashback was first detected last September when anti-virus researchers flagged up software masquerading itself as a Flash Player update. Once downloaded it deactivated some of the computer’s security software. Later versions of the malware exploited weaknesses in the Java programming language to allow the code to be installed from bogus sites without the user’s permission.

Dr Web said that once the Trojan was installed it sent a message to the intruder’s control server with a unique ID to identify the infected machine. Dr Web also notes that 274 of the infected computers it detected appeared to be located in Cupertino, California – home to Apple’s headquarters.

Java’s developer, Oracle, issued a fix to the vulnerability on 14 February, but this did not work on Macintoshes as Apple manages Java updates to its computers. Apple released its own “security update” on Wednesday – more than eight weeks later. It can be triggered by clicking on the software update icon in the computer’s system preferences panel.

Although Apple’s system software limits the actions its computers can take without requesting their users’ permission, some security analysts suggest this latest incident highlights the fact that the machines are not invulnerable. Apple could not provide a statement at this time.

Source: BBC News

Image: Slate

Rumored iPhone 5 Turns Out to be iPhone 4S

Apple CEO Tim Cook led the most awaited introduction of the new iPhone in Cupertino, California. For over a year, rumors circulated about an iPhone 5 and its fantastic features. Apple surprised the world with the fact that there is still no iPhone 5, rather, a better version of the current model which is called iPhone 4S.

This was Cook’s first time to launch a product since he replaced Apple founder Steve Jobs as CEO. The iPhone 4S will be carried by AT&T, Verizon, and finally, Sprint. Available models are the 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299 and a new 64GB for $399. The iPhone 4 will now sell for $99 in an 8GB version.

The new iPhone looks very much like the iPhone 4, except that it has much better features. The casing and the Retina screen are basically the same but the iPhone 4S will have a dual core A5 processor like the one in iPad 2, an 8-megapixel camera (3264 x 2448 pixels with 73 percent more light per pixel than the iPhone, using the new kind of CMOS), improved battery life of up to 8 hours of 3G talk time, and full 1080p HD with real-time video image stabilization. With AirPlay, HD wireless or HDMI video mirroring from phone to the TV is possible. There is also a redesigned smarter antenna that will allow you to download data up to 14.4 mbps — twice as fast, similar to many 4G phones. [Read more…]