Mac OS Malware Targeting Biomed Sector May Come from Flash Player

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Mac OS is known for being one of the most secure systems in the world, mostly due to Apple’s preference for maintaining a walled garden in terms of apps and extensions. But, every now and then, hackers find a hole in the wall and inject malware into Apple’s ecosystem.

One such malware was discovered in January by the Malwarebytes team. Nicknamed “Fruitfly”, it was found in a Mac computer owned by an unnamed biomedical research center, and it was detected only because it was producing unusually high volumes of traffic. However, the Malwarebytes team believes that it has been around since 2014 or earlier, although its creation date is not really clear. They also believe that the malware targets the biomedical industry specifically and may have been used to spy on scientific research.

Dark Reading points out that no one knows exactly how Fruitfly ended up in the research center’s computer, adding that it could have been “dropped via some sort of Trojan” or transmitted “via an Adobe Flash Player”. If it’s the latter, though, it won’t really be surprising since Flash Player is one of the least secure programs out there. It has been the target of numerous zero-day vulnerabilities, which could disclose users’ information to hackers and even allow attackers to gain control of users’ systems.

If you use a Mac computer, it’s advisable to disable Adobe Flash Player on Safari, Chrome, or any other browser you use. This way, you’ll reduce the risks of losing your sensitive data and getting targeted by attackers. You can even uninstall Flash Player if you’re 100 percent sure that you won’t be needing it anymore. Simply download the Mac OS Flash uninstaller from the official Adobe site, run it on your computer, and delete a couple of Flash-related folders from your library.

If you find that you can’t live without Adobe Flash Player on your Mac OS, the best thing you can do is to keep it updated. Download the security patches that Adobe releases for the program or, better yet, configure your Flash Player so it automatically downloads and installs updates without requiring you to do anything. As of the moment, the latest version is 24.0.0.194, which protects you from 13 critical vulnerabilities affecting Adobe Flash Player.

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