Wednesday, February 20 11:56:34
Apple has been attacked by hackers who infected the computers of some employees, the company said in an unprecedented disclosure describing the widest known cyber attacks targeting Apple computers used by corporations.
Unknown hackers infected the computers of some Apple workers when they visited a website for software developers that had been infected with malicious software. The malware had been designed to attack Mac computers.
The same software, which infected Macs by exploiting a flaw in a version of Oracle Corp's Java software used as a plug-in on Web browsers, was used to launch attacks against Facebook, which the social network disclosed on Friday.
The malware was also employed in attacks against Mac computers used by "other companies," Apple said, without elaborating on the scale of the assault.
Twitter, which disclosed that it had been breached February 1 and that hackers might gave accessed some information on about 250,000 users, was hit in the same campaign, according to a person close to the investigation.
Another person briefed on the case said that hundreds of companies, including defence contractors, had been infected with the same malicious software. Though this person said that the malware could have originated from China, there was no proof.
"This is a new campaign. It's not like the other ones you read about where everyone can tell it's China," the first person said.
Investigations into the breaches are ongoing. It was not immediately clear when the attacks had begun, the extent to which the hackers had succeeded in stealing data from targeted systems, or whether all infected machines have been identified.
The malware was distributed at least in part through a site aimed at iPhone developers, which might still be infecting visitors who haven't disabled Java in their browser, the person close to the case said. There is a version that infects computers running Microsoft Windows as well.
Security firm F-Secure wrote that the attackers might have been trying to get access to the code for apps on smartphones, seeking a way to infect millions of end-users. It urged developers to check their source code for unintended changes.
Apple disclosed the breach as tensions are heating up over U.S. allegations that the Chinese military engages in cyber espionage on U.S. companies.
U.S. cyber security firm Mandiant reported over the weekend that it has uncovered evidence that the Chinese military is behind a slew of cyber attacks on U.S. businesses. The White House said it has repeatedly raised concerns about Chinese cyber theft with Beijing. Reuters