Apple releases Java update after Mac systems hacked

Apple releases Java update after Mac systems hacked

The list of high-profile tech companies victimised by hackers is growing.

Just days after Facebook revealed that its systems were “ targeted in a sophisticated attack,” Apple has now made the rare admission that it too was the victim of hackers. The Cupertino-based tech giant’s computers were attacked by the same online miscreants who targeted Facebook. No data appears to have been stolen in the Apple hack.

“Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers,” Apple said in a statement. “The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers.”

A “small number” of Apple employees’ Mac computers were breached, though “there was no evidence that any data left Apple,” the company said. Upon discovering the intrusion, Apple isolated the infected computers from its network and began working with law enforcement to find the source of the malware.

Apple released a Java security update to address the flaw. Java for OS X 2013-001 is available in the Software Update section of the Mac App Store. It is also available for download from Apple’s website. Apple advised users to quit any web browsers and Java applications before installing the update.

“Since OS X Lion, Macs have shipped without Java installed, and as an added security measure OS X automatically disables Java if it has been unused for 35 days,” the company said. “To protect Mac users that have installed Java, today we are releasing an updated Java malware removal tool that will check Mac systems and remove this malware if found.”

The attack on Apple employee computers was first reported by Reuters.

The news comes after Facebook said its systems were breached after a handful of employees visited a compromised mobile developer website. The website in question was hosting an exploit that installed malware on the computer of anyone who visited it. The social network said it found no evidence that any user data was compromised by the malware.

Apple and Facebook aren’t alone. Earlier this month, Twitter was hacked, saying that it detected “unusual access patterns” on its network, which indicated that attackers might have accessed the user data of approximately 250,000 users.

Meanwhile, security researchers revealed they have traced a prolific group of computer hackers to a government-backed, military building in Shanghai, China. According to a new report from Mandiant, the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 is located “in precisely the same area” as a section of APT1, an advanced persistent threat group that has stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations worldwide.

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