For the first time, Apple has acknowledged the outbreak of Flashback malware that has infected some 650,000 Mac computers worldwide.
The Cupertino, Calf.-based computing giant said in a support document, released late Tuesday, that it is creating software to detect and eradicate the sophisticated trojan, which is capable of stealing data, hijacking search results and installing additional malware. In addition, Apple is working with internet service providers to disable the botnet's command-and-control network, which Flashback uses to communicate with its compromised hosts.
Up until this point, Apple had remained mum on the subject, except for the release last week of two Java security updates -- for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard). They patched the vulnerability being used to spread Flashback.
For users still running 10.5 and earlier versions, Apple suggested they turn off Java functionality through their browser preferences.
Flashback was able to spread because Apple took weeks to patch its iteration of Java, despite Oracle issuing security updates for the software in February.
The number of computers botted with Flasback appeared to peak over the weekend, but experts said the botnet is still functioning normally.