Apple joins Facebook in ranks of the recently hacked

Apple says it was the target of a malware attack that exploited vulnerabilities in the Java plug-in for browsers. 

Reuters
A cyber warfare expert works on his Apple computer in Charlotte, North Carolina, in this 2011 file photograph. Apple was recently attacked by hackers who infected the Macintosh computers of some employees, the company said this week.

In January, Facebook was the target of a "sophisticated attack," which was reportedly triggered when several employees visited what the company described as a "mobile developer website." Now comes news that Apple was hit in exactly the same fashion. 

"Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers," reps for Apple wrote in a statement obtained by PC Magazine. "The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers."

Apple added that the malware was isolated and contained, and that there was "no evidence that any data left Apple." The Cupertino company is expected to release a tool that will help users protect their machines against similar malware. 

As Reuters notes, historically hackers have focused their energy on PCs, but as Apple has grown in size and market clout, so too has its attractiveness to black hats

Horizons readers will remember that back in September, hacker group AntiSec published more than one million Apple Unique Device Identifiers, or UDIDs. AntiSec said it had stolen the UDIDs from an FBI agent's computer, but the leak was eventually traced to a small Florida company called BlueToad, which had been infiltrated by hackers. 

"Once we realized we were responsible, it was the right thing to do to come forward," the CEO of BlueToad said at the time. "We felt it was important for people to understand that there might be a more legitimate source for that information getting out."

It's been a big couple of weeks for hackers and a bad couple of weeks for the hacked. Besides the Apple and Facebook attacks, the official Jeep Twitter feed was commandeered by pranksters; ditto for the Burger King twitter account, which was plastered with photos of the McDonald's logo. 

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