Flashback botnet shrinks, downloads of Mac AV software rise

News that nearly two percent of all Mac users have had their computers infected by the Flashback malware which roped them into a 600K strong botnet has hit the Mac community with the realization that their machines are not as secure as they believed and hoped they are.

Many security firms – Dr. Web, Kaspersky Labs, Symantec, and others – have reacted quickly and have pushed out free Flashback malware removal tools, but users are still waiting for Apple to react.

The company has promised to push out a solution, hopefully by the end of the week, but has yet to do it.

In the meantime, the news has scared a lot of users into splurging for a Mac antivirus solution. According to Computerworld, both Intego and Sophos have confirmed that they have witnessed a surge in sales and downloads of their free Mac AV offerings.

A glimpse at Mac App Store statistics confirms these findings, as Bitdefender’s (free) Virus Scanner and the (also free) Clam AV found themselves at the apex of the top 200 most popular free programs list.

Meanwhile, the Flashback botnet has shrunk in the last few days and as of yesterday, counts less than 270k infected machines.

According to Symantec, part of the reason for this dramatic decrease is the fact that a number of security firms have executed sinkholing operations against the botnet, but the biggest reason likely lies in the fact that many Mac users have heard the news and proceeded to scan and disinfect their machines.

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