Tools to remove the Flashback malware variant that has been discovered on Mac computers this month have been effective, but the Flashback is not quite dead yet, according to a recent report. The malware, which originally infected upwards of 600,000 computers, has been eliminated from the majority of them. There are still, however, just over 140,000 Macs still infected around the world.
That data comes from a recent blog post by Symantec, which notes that the numbers are continuing to decline. They project that within just a few days, the infection rate will be below 99,000.
The Flashback malware was originally discovered at the beginning of this month. At 600,000 infections, Flashback was the most widespread malware to hit Macs yet. While ordinary malware aimed at Macs requires user interaction before it can be installed on a computer, this variant took advantage of an exploit in Java that allowed it to install itself if the user so much as visited an infected website. After an initial Java update from Apple patched the exploit, several free software tools popped up to help users detect and remove the malware. Last week, Apple released another Java update that would remove Flashback from infected machines.
According to Symantec's data, it looks like these measures have been quite effective. The vast majority of infected Macs are clean. Moreover, as more and more people download the Java update (or use one of the removal tools), the number of infected machines will likely only continue to drop.