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Too late? Apple issues XProtect update for FlashBack trojan

30 November 2011 2,991 views 5 Comments

For whatever reason, security on the Mac, as a practical matter, is pretty good. Like Windows or Linux, however, there are plenty of exploitable ways to get into a Mac. Though few people seem interested in doing the required legwork, it’s wrong to say we’re virus proof.

A case in point is the FlashBack trojan, which is known to be spread via infected copies of GraphicConverter and Pixelmater distributed by warez sites. The take away here? Don’t download pirated software, especially when you can get it for free legally.

Thereupon, it bears repeating that GraphicConvertor is shareware and can be downloaded for free. Similarly, you can download a 30-day demo of Pixelmator direct from the developer.

More than a little scary

The one thing about the most recent version of the FlashBack trojan that makes it different than other trojans is that it disables XProtect malware blocker, which is integrated into OS X 10.6.4 and later. In other words, OS X’s one active defense against trojans can be defeated by FlashBack.

Not good.

However, Apple has issued an XProtect update that blocks FlashBack and you can use Adam Christianson’s Safe Download Version to check (image above) that you have the latest version. Given that this trojan in its various iterations has been making the rounds for months, the update is arriving late for some, probably a relative handful of users.

Is Apple doing enough to keep us safe?

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