New Mac Malware Could Spy On Your Computer


Here's a bit of unsettling news for Mac users: a new variant of malware has reportedly been spotted in Tibet and could have the ability to spy on infected devices.

According to researchers at security firm Intego — as reported by Graham Cluely — the malware comes in the form of a Java applet from a compromised website. The firm is calling the malware OSX/Tibet.D. It's a new variant of a piece of malware last found a year ago.

The good news is a typical user shouldn't come across the malware unless they have been frequenting anti-China sites in Tibet. But the fact that hackers in general are reportedly gaining access to computers and monitoring users is a cause for concern.

Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The report indicates hackers have attacked a website that in turn compromises computers when they visit. The vulnerability is believed to stem from unpatched computers that causes the Java archive to launch automatically on the Mac, allowing hackers to gain access to the control servers and access remote files.

Cluely notes similar attacks have been hit against the Tibetan government and Chinese supporters of the Dalai Lama in the past.

Although this shouldn't affect most people, it's always smart to stay up to date with software and security updates. By default, Java is not installed on new Macs and OS X automatically disables Java from a machine if it hasn't been used in 35 days.

If you're a Mac user who must use Java applets on the web (we offer our condolences), we recommend using some sort of anti-virus system on the Mac.

Christina Warren contributed to the reporting in this article.
Image: AFP/Getty Images

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