Could Apple have prevented Flashback infection?

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The recently-discovered Flashback malware infection, which currently exploits a flaw in Java, has caused the most widespread infection of Apple Macintosh systems that the platform ever has seen, with an estimated 600,000 computers affected. Apple said in a recent post that the company is working on a tool that will detect and remove the malware but have not offered any advice on how to identify infected systems as yet.

The outbreak has been laid at the door of a security flaw in Oracle’s Java software, one which Apple reportedly left unpatched for several weeks, leaving users who upgraded their operating systems from Mac OS X 10.6 at risk. Oracle rolled out a fix for Windows-based PCs on 17 February this year while Apple, who administer their own version of Java, waited till the beginning of April to get a patch out.

It seems that a faster response to the security hole on Apple’s part may have assisted in preventing wide distribution of the Flashback malware, the latest variant of which was uncovered in early March this year, on Mac systems around the world. Of course by the time the flaw was exposed it may have already been too late but prompt action might have minimised the outbreak.

Source: The Guardian

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