Apple was struck Tuesday by a large-scale hack that is being called “highest-profile cyber-attack to date on businesses running Mac computers,” affecting not only Apple headquarters computers, but also several “other companies” that work with Mac devices.
The company told Reuters in a statement that the hack originated when Apple workers attempted to visit a software developer’s website infected with malware.
The malware, designed to specifically target Macs by “exploiting a flaw in a version of Oracle Corp's Java software used as a plug-in on Web browsers” was also used to hack Facebook, the social media company revealed Friday.
"Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers," the company said.
"The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers."
While Apple has not disclosed exactly how many companies have been affected by the cyber-attack, a person well-versed on the investigation said hundreds of companies have had their computers infected with the malicious software, or malware, according to Reuters.
"This is the first really big attack on Macs. Apple has more on its hands than the attack on itself," the source, who requested to remain anonymous, told Reuters.
Apple hardware has notably evaded the attention of hackers who tend to target PCs that run the Windows operating system; however, the criminal hackers are now taking the time to learn techniques of infiltrating the system.
"The only thing that was making it safe before is that nobody bothered to attack it. That goes away if somebody bothers to attack it," Charlie Milller, Apple security expert and co-author of the “Mac Hacker's Handbook,” told Reuters.
One newly adopted techniques in particular has hackers exploiting a flaw in Adobe Systems Inc's Flash software, Miller detailed.
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