Mac Malware Generated $10,000 Per Day

The Mac is safer than PCs, but there are some risks coming up now.

Many people believe that Mac devices are inherently safe from malware and viruses, but this isn’t necessarily true. Consider the Mac-based Flashback botnet, which is said to have stolen $10,000 per day in ad revenue.

When an infected user conducts a Google search, Flashback waits for someone to click on an ad. Instead of being taken to the intended location, Flashback silently directs to another ad that the user didn’t intend to view. This creates revenue for the crooks behind the botnet. Also, Google would not know if someone clicked an ad, and advertising clients end up paying for Flashback’s attackers to host ads on Google.

PC Magazine said this is a common type of Windows issue, but Macs usually do not see this kind of advanced malware – which is lining the perps’ pockets. Each click could generate 0.08 cents for the attackers. With a reported 650,000 users infected with this malware, the money starts to add up for the fraudsters. InformationWeek cited NetMarketShare stats that showed 63 percent of Flashback infections were on machines running the Snow Leopard operating system. The older Leopard OS accounted for 25 percent of infections.

The ad-clicking component of this malware is still active in infected Macs that have been “sinkholed,” which blocks anticipated server domain names from being used by command-and-control servers, according to PC Magazine. This prevents the Trojan from receiving information from the commander. Users who have been infected with this malware may want to look into a system restore and recovery option to make sure their Mac is virus and malware free.

Do you have thoughts on this Mac attack? Let us know in the comments!

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.