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After Apple released Flashback removal update, infections down to 270,000
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 15 Apr 2012

After Apple released Flashback removal update, infections down to 270,000


Good news for the Apple users: Yesterday Apple today officially released the third update to its Java component in the space of a single week. The new Java security update delivers Java SE 6 version 1.6.0_31 and supersedes all previous versions.

Symantec company reported that it counted only about 270,000 infected Macs, down from a high of 600,000 last week.

On April 6, the number of infections was estimated at around 600,000.
Symantec says that number dropped to 380,000 on April 10 and to 270,000 on April 11.

Apple’s update is described in two separate bulletins:
The first one for OS X Lion (
A second for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) (

It includes functionality designed to detect and remove “most common variants of the Flashback malware.” Another interesting new feature is intended to block copycat attempts that try to exploit vulnerabilities that might be found in this version, although the new feature is available only to users of the latest version of OS X.

The update for OS X Lion configures the Java web plug-in to disable automatic execution of Java applets, a security feature that many Mac experts recommend for all Mac owners.

If a user re-enables this feature—to use a web-based Java applet, for example—the Java web plug-in starts a counter and disables Java again after a specified interval.

A separate mailing from Apple Product Security describes how that feature works:
As a security hardening measure, the Java browser plugin and Java Web Start are deactivated if they are unused for 35 days. Installing this update will automatically deactivate the Java browser plugin and Java Web Start. Users may re-enable Java if they encounter Java applets on a web page or Java Web Start applications detects that no applets have been run for an extended period of time it will again disable Java applets.

The new feature does not apply to Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
Although Apple has never officially acknowledged that it has dropped support for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and earlier versions, a third security bulletin released today makes the point implicitly:
How to disable the Java web plug-in in Safari ( describes the procedure for Mac OS X 10.4 and Mac OS X 10.5, in addition to the two more recent, fully supported versions.

Additionally, there are third party articles, explaining how to disable the Java plug-in in Chrome ( and Firefox (

By the way, Apple’s release of own Flashback removal tool came after several security companies have independently published their own Flashback detection and removal tools.

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