The walls come tumbling down: another Mac Trojan virus strikes


According to Kaspersky Labs and a post at Mashable, another Mac Trojan virus has been detected, and this one could be even more damaging and widespread than the Flashback Trojan that affected over 600,000 Mac users.

This trojan, called SabPub, or, Backdoor.OSX.SabPub.a, to be exact, infects systems through Java when suspicious emails are opened and the links inside are clicked, directing the user to malware.  To quote from the Mashable post:

“The Flashback and the SabPub Trojans are totally different,” Alex Gostev, chief security expert of Kaspersky Lab, told Mashable. “SabPub is classic backdoor Trojan, so it opens full access to a victim’s system for attackers. Flashback and its known variants is downloader and clickjacking bot, which means it conducts click fraud scam by hijacking people’s search engine results inside their web browsers.”

Gostev’s recommendation is that all Mac users stay as up to date with their software as possible, including their operating systems.  Could this be a sign that Apple products are not as airtight as previously though, or is there no cause for alarm?  Sound off in the comments section!

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  1. Josh 16 April, 2012 at 11:05 Reply

    Is it just me, or does it seem like this is going to continue to be an issue?

    However, I will say that when you look at the ratio of virus outbreaks between Mac and PC over the course of, well forever, the writing is on the wall. Mac is still the safer product.

  2. Kevin 17 April, 2012 at 06:08 Reply

    Mac OS X has been an option for a little over 10 years now, and the marketshare is still pretty small. Windows, and its DOS predecessor have held ~80-90% marketshare since the early 80s. In that time, Microsoft has had to support backwards compatibility for several versions prior to the most recent release. And having such a wide array of developers building for their OS (especially during the early, pre-internet (widespread use, anyway), they had to account for a lot of “clever tricks” used by coders. Tightening up some code often could result in an app no longer working, and guess who caught the blame for some app’s fickle code suddenly not working after updating Windows? So, to keep customers happy, they had to include more code to handle the hacks used by those developers. These factors made a perfect recipe for some really unwieldy and tetchy code. And as the internet came onto the scene, they couldn’t just start from scratch to deal with this new reality, they had to patch up the best they could and try to stay on top of things.

    Macs, on the other hand, dumped their old OS codebase (before OS X, there was an old joke that Macintosh stood for “Many Apps Crash, If Not, Then Operating System Hangs”) and started fresh from FreeBSD and the Mach kernel, after the internet was well established at the mass consumer level. They were able to actually code with these things in mind. Microsoft could never have done this without destroying their entire business.

    The problem for the Mac is if it continues to gain marketshare, Apple’s going to have to start dealing with the same issues Microsoft did. Especially the stupid users. The best coders in the world can’t account for some idiot that clicks on a malicious link and happily allows it to run at admin level because they just know that “Macs can’t get viruses.”

    And I think Apple knows this. They’ve been pushing their devices a lot harder than their PCs, and who can blame them? Being a niche machine serves the Mac very well, and Apple’s rolling in cash without trying to dominate the PC market. Opening themselves to issues that increase their vulnerability will likely only hurt the brand image in the long run as more problems inevitably crop up. The appliance market is their bread and butter. They do have the Apple ecosystem, but the Mac is the expendable link in the chain.

  3. Marty 17 April, 2012 at 08:27 Reply

    I agree with you, Kevin, and I think that’s why we are seeing Mac’s take on more and more features of iOS, because it’s in my opinion that someday in the very near future that Apple is going to merge both OSX and iOS into one large entity with touchscreen handheld devices and laptops and desktops with integrated touch screens.

    You are right, however, about the dichotomy between increased Mac marketshare and the rise of virus attacks. However, since OSX was rebuilt, I think that Apple will be able to handle the hack/virus niche much better than Microsoft ever could, because well, the dinosaur that is Windows is still built off the feeble bones of it’s predecessors.

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