Earlier this month the malware named Flashback infected hundreds of thousands of Macs, and now there is a new variant to be concerned about.
Flashback.S , a strain of the original malware, "is actively being distributed in the wild" according to security company Intego in a statement. The statement goes on to explain that the malware takes advantage of a vulnerability in the Java program, which Apple has already patched.
This new variant installs itself on a user's home folder without requiring a password. Flashback.S then goes on to delete all folders and files from the Java cache folder.
The original Flashback malware was designed to steal passwords and other user information through Web browsers and similar applications. It would install itself after the user, visiting a malicious site, confused it for a legitimate browser plug-in. It was estimated to have been infecting over 600,000 Macs at the height of its attack. Currently it is not known what the new variant is designed to do, or how many computers are infected.
Though at first 600,000 Macs were thought to be infected the world over, Symantec corrected its estimate to 140,000 last week. The drop in estimated numbers was partly due to the release from Apple of software patches and tools designed to detect and remove the malware.