Apple Launches Flashback Removal Tool

Image via Apple Insider

Following the release of its Java update for Mac OS X Lion last Thursday, Apple rolled out a separate program on Friday to remove the so-called Flashback Trojan that affected more than 60,000 Macs around the world. The Flashback Malware Removal Tool version 1.0 will scan a user’s computer and erase known iterations of the Trojan, which is also called as the worst that the Mac platform has ever seen.

About the Flashback Malware Removal Tool

Available for download at Apple’s Customer Support, the Flashback Malware Removal Tool is meant for users who have Mac that runs on OS X Lion and don’t have Java program installed. Based on the release note:

This Flashback malware removal tool removes the most common variants of the flashback malware.

If the Flashback malware is found, a dialog will be presented notifying the user that malware was removed.

In some cases, the Flashback malware removal tool may need to restart your computer in order to completely remove the Flashback malware.

This update is recommended for all OS X Lion users without Java installed.

Malware Blast from the Past

The Flashback malware was discovered last September 2011 by a security firm Intego. It was found on malicious websites that invite users to download and install a phony Flash Player. Since a Mac OS X Lion doesn’t have a built-in Flash, users will manually install it.

The Trojan will then delete the installer package and deactivate some network security software. After the Flashback malware is injected in certain applications, it will connect to remote servers to send specific information about the infected Mac computer like its MAC address.

This malware is said to infect 60,000 Mac OS X Lion owners worldwide. Thus, it is advised that owners must check the origin of any file that claims to be a Flash Player installer. Moreover, they were instructed download the official application from Adobe.

Those who are using the Safari web browser were also told to uncheck the “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” option that is found under the General Preferences. This will prevent the Flashback malware from installing itself automatically after being downloaded.


Although it was discovered last year, Apple took awhile to release a patch for the exploit. Nevertheless, they managed to launch two updates within the past week. The Flashback Malware Removal Tool comes in at 365 KB and will require a Mac running on Mac OS X Lion without Java installed.

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