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Apple users are expected to be suffering a crisis of faith: it recently turned out the company's faith-based security system failed to prevent more than 600,000 Macs throughout the world from being attacked by the Flashback Trojan.

The malware in question is meant to steal personal data from those hapless Mac users who have been doing nothing to protect their system except for twiddling their thumbs. Indeed, plenty of people are satisfied with the impenetrable fortress of security that Apple's computers are, for some reason, perceived to be. Flashback Trojan worms its way onto OS X devices and demands administrator passwords. In case a user hands it over, the virus will install itself into the computer and comb for personal information.

Dr. Web, one of the major Russian antivirus companies, first reported that over 550,000 Mac machines across the world had already been compromised by the creeping botnet. In a while, one of CNET's analysts reported that the figure was more likely to be over 600,000, which included 274 bots found in Apple's stamping ground, Cupertino.

The Flashback botnet originally disguised itself as a Flash plug-in. However, new versions have been popping up since, because the botnet started exploiting a range of Java vulnerabilities to target Mac machines.

Today Apple has released a patch which is meant to squash the vulnerability. However, it's only up to Apple users whether they will rush to protect their computers or not. Last week, Sophos' Graham Cluley urged computer users to be vigilant, pointing at the fact that there had been a whole flood of Mac malware activity against Apple users a year ago, with a steady stream since.

Security experts warn all Mac users to pay attention to protection of their machines and encourage them to consider that a lot of hacker attacks aren't specifically technical, but instead rely on social engineering and human folly.

Apple customers would be "foolhardy" not to protect their devices with anti-virus software, which should also be kept updated. According to security experts, not many users are concerned over this problem, though there are free Mac anti-virus options available out there. Even when users really have nothing to lose, they still fail to spend couple minutes to consider the security issues.


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