By Abdul Vahid V
Russian antivirus firm Doctor Web’s analysts have found that the Mac Flashback malware has mostly attacked OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. It is not a surprise since the Snow Leopard is the most recent version of Apple’s OS that features Java. Apple has deprecated Java on its new and current OS X 10.7 Lion, which is the third biggest Flashback-affected Mac OS version. Meanwhile, the 2007 version the OS X 10.5 Leopard, which also comes with Java, comes second.
Flashback on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard – 63.4%
As per the Dr Web’s analysis, 63.4 percent of the Flashback-infected Macs are identified as running the Snow Leopard. Doctor Web is the same firm that recently exposed the massive infection rate of Macs with the Flashback malware. As per the metrics firm Net Applications, Snow Leopard accounted for the biggest share of OS X last month. Certainly, it makes this version as the major target of hackers.
“Not surprisingly, 63.4 percent of the Flashback-infected machines identified themselves as running OS X 10.6, or Snow Leopard, the newest version of Apple’s operating system that comes with Java,” comments Gregg Keizer of the Computerworld U.S.
Flashback on OS X 10.5 Leopard – 25.5%
Following the Snow Leopard, the Leopard or OS X 10.5 is the second largest Flashback-infected version of the Mac operating system. Around 25.5 percent of the overall 95,000 infected Macs are based on the 2007 edition of the OS. Leopard, which also bundles Java, accounted for 13.6 percent of all Macs last month.
Flashback on OS X 10.7 OS X Lion – 11.2%
Meanwhile, Macs with the latest OS X 10.7 or Lion, which runs on 39.6 percent of all Macs last month, are vulnerable to only an 11.2 percent with the Flashback malware attacks. As noted above, it is because Apple has ditched Java on this version. However, the company left an option for users to let them download Java and run. Users have been allowed to download Java on Lion. That is why 11.2 percent of OS X Lion Macs are affected with the critical virus.
Leopard & Snow Leopard’s vulnerability is critical
Indeed, increased susceptibility of the Leopard and Snow Leopard to the Flashback malware is dangerous because most number of Macs in the world run on these operating systems, reveals a recent ZDNet estimate. As per Chitika Insights, an online data analytics firm, the OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and 10.5 (Leopard) rock a combined 47.48 percent and 16.4 percent shares in Mac market. Anyway, the report suggests that OS X Lion is slowly getting its download rate up with a 30.47 percent share as of now.
Anyway, what is notable here is most number of Macs today runs either on the Leopard or Snow Leopard, which are respectively the second and first largest in susceptibility to the Flashback malware, which can reach the users confidential data to hackers.
“Despite both Snow Leopard and Leopard together making up about 64 percent of OS X installations, according to Dr. Web they constitute nearly 89 percent of the Flashback malware infections in OS X. On the other hand, OS X Lion is only used by about a third of Mac users, and yet the infections for this OS make up just over a tenth of those being observed,” notes Topher Kessler of CNet.
Analysts of Doctor Web have been delivering the exact status and count of the malware attacks on Mac for a while. Recently the Russian antivirus firm reported that Flashback has affected around 95,000 Macs across the world. Also, it gave an analysis of the communications between the Flashback-infected computers and the sinkholed domains. The efforts for the communication took place on April 13, 2012. “Doctor Web virus analysts continue to study the first-ever large-scale botnet created by means of BackDoor.Flashback and comprised of computers running Mac OS X,” says Dr. Web on its official site.