Remember when Apple use to claim its operating system was impervious to computer viruses? It turns out not only was Apple incorrect in its assessment it was dead wrong. A new virus released this week attacks Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and Linux-based operating systems without prejudice.
The new virus works by pretending to be a piece of code that is needed as an add-on for the users operating system; in actual practice the code opens a Java Archive File and detects which operating system a user is using. Once the program knows the operating system it remotely grabs a piece of code meant to exploit that OS. After the new code is installed the virus creates a back door for hackers.
On Mac systems the virus is known by F-Secure as “Backdoor:OSX/GetShell.A.”
Apple notes that fully updated Mac users should not have a problem with the malware since the OS X code is based on a PowerPC binary. According to Electronista.com:
“OS X Lion doesn’t support Rosetta, the software needed for backwards compatibility with PowerPC applications. Even with OS X Snow Leopard, Rosetta is only an optional upgrade.”
A piece of virus based software propagating across various operating systems is rare and highlights the surge in hackers willing to go after a growing Mac OS X base. In the past Apple claimed its systems were harder to hack when in reality hackers didn’t find hacking the Apple system to be worth their time since most users were operating on Microsoft Windows-based machines.