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04/05/2012

Apple virus infects 110,000 Canadian Macs

It looks like the Apple Mac finally caught a cold. Russian security firm Dr Web claims to have exposed a network of infected Macs numbering more than 550,000 machines.

Sad-macThe Macs have been infected with Flashback, a virus that joins them to a bot net, which is a network of machines that can be controlled remotely by cyber criminals. Like many Windows viruses, this malware spreads itself via malicious website. When a Mac owner visits a site that has the virus, it uses an exploit in the Mac's browser to load a piece of code containing an exploit. Dr Web is claiming that the virus is being distributed via four million web sites.

Apple has fixed the vulnerability that the virus used to infect its operating system, but owners have to update their software to protect themselves (download the fix here).

According to the Russian security firm, one in five infected machines are located in Canada. Over half are in the US, with the remainder of the rest in Europe.

This will be a big blow for Mac fans, who had previously been pretty smug about the security of their systems. There have been few viruses or worms targeting Mac users to date, but as Apple becomes increasingly popular, it becomes more worthwhile for criminals to write viruses targeting the platform.

According to StatCounter, Apple's OS X operating system commands just over 15% market share in Canada, although its share has been relatively steady here compared to Windows 7, which grew from 30% last April to 45% this month.

Apple may still be training Windows in the race for market share, but it is popular enough that scuzzballs on the web are starting to take notice. If you are an Apple user, it might be time to install some antivirus software for your system.

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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