Flashback Malware Was Worth Up To $10,000 A Day To Its Creators [Report]

Flashback Malware Was Worth Up To $10,000 A Day To Its Creators [Report]

The Flashback infection could have generated more in 7 days than most will earn in a year.

The Flashback malware which was found to be infecting over 650,000 Macs at its peak was earning its creators up to $10,000 a day, according to security specialists Symantec. The OSX.Flashback.K trojan, which is believed to be the largest Mac infection to date, is designed to steal page views and advertising revenue from Google.

Once installed on your machine, the trojan is able to load an “Ad-clicking component” that intercepts all search requests from your web browser and diverts your traffic to a page of their choosing, where they receive revenue from your visit.

Symantec explains how it works:

The Flashback ad-clicking component is loaded into Chrome, Firefox, and Safari where it can intercept all GET and POST requests from the browser. Flashback specifically targets search queries made on Google and, depending on the search query, may redirect users to another page of the attacker’s choosing, where they receive revenue from the click . (Google never receives the intended ad click.)

The malware is clever enough to use a special user agent that is designed to avoid investigation:

Flashback uses a specially crafted user agent in these requests, which is actually the clients universally unique identifier (UUID) encoded in base64. This is already sent in the “ua” query string parameter, so it is likely that this is an effort to thwart “unknown” parties from investigating the URL with unrecognised user-agents.

On average, trojans like this can provide their authors with around $450 in revenue per day with around 25,000 infections. With the Flashback trojan installed on 650,000 Macs, that sum is likely to rise to around $10,000 per day.

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  • deevalina58

    This money is too good for someone at Apple not to be paid off to join in this PROTECTION scam. All is in place, scare tactics, can’t be without it…so on and so on. The timing is so disturbing, all this right after JS dies. Who knows, he may have known as well, but it’s still BS. As I stated before, no reason to trust or buy Apple when I can buy the same crap and be subjected to the same endless extortion as PC’s users at 1/5 the price.

  • voloder

    This money is too good for someone at Apple not to be paid off to join in this PROTECTION scam. All is in place, scare tactics, can’t be without it…so on and so on. The timing is so disturbing, all this right after JS dies. Who knows, he may have known as well, but it’s still BS. As I stated before, no reason to trust or buy Apple when I can buy the same crap and be subjected to the same endless extortion as PC’s users at 1/5 the price.

    So, basically, what you’re saying is: Apple made this virus as a plan to make people buy Anti Virus plans? What? How many times were you dropped on your head as a child? Why would Apple EVER want to direct its users away from its products? “Oh I have a great idea! Let’s make a virus so that our customers will not trust us, leave us, and also buy stuff from other companies to fix what we did!” No. You, my friend, are a complete moron. And don’t anyone tell me that he’s wrong but it’s not right to call him names. He is a very special case.

  • imajoebob

    I wonder how much money Kaspersky made off this? Draw your own conclusion.

  • iosdev

    Ugly malware, i’m not using flash and it saved me lol :)

    This may help

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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