Apple says hackers attacked and infected ‘small number’ of Macs

Apple has confirmed that hackers attacked and infected a “small numbers” of Mac users, according to reports from Reuters. The company told the publication that the same unidentified group thought to be behind an attack on Facebook targeted it and breached and a small number of employees’ Macs. Apple said it is working with authorities to investigate the attacks but “there was no evidence that any data left Apple.”

Apple Inc computers were attacked by the same hackers who targeted Facebook Inc, but no data appeared to have been stolen, the company said on Tuesday in an unprecedented admission of a widespread cyber-security breach.

According to the report, the attack exploited a flaw in the Java browser plug-in on Macs and also hit Facebook in addition to “hundreds of companies, including defense contractors, had been infected with the same malicious software, or malware.” Apple told Reuters it plans to release a tool later today that would protect Mac users against the software used in the attacks on its employees’ computers.

Apple also provided a statement on the matter to AllThingsD:

“Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers,” the company said in a statement to AllThingsD. “The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers. We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple. We are working closely with law enforcement to find the source of the malware.”

Apple provided more color on the involvement with Java to The Loop:

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“Since OS X Lion, Macs have shipped without Java installed, and as an added security measure OS X automatically disables Java if it has been unused for 35 days. To protect Mac users that have installed Java, today we are releasing an updated Java malware removal tool that will check Mac systems and remove this malware if found,” the company said.

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more about the software tool Apple plans to release today for users.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.