Apple, Facebook and “hundreds of other companies” have had their Mac computers hacked in a sophisticated campaign mounted by an unknown adversary.
Attackers were able to infect Apple, along with other businesses around the world with Mac malware delivered via a Java zero-day vulnerability, Reuters reported on Tuesday, after receiving information from a source at Apple.
The hack used the same Java zero-day and associated Mac malware as the one which Facebook disclosed last week, the Apple source indicated.
Hundreds of companies, including defense contractors, have been infected with the same malicious software, the source said.
“This is the first really big attack on Macs,” Reuters’s source said, “Apple has more on its hands than the attack on itself.”
Apple plans to release a software tool to detect and remove the Java-related malware, the company said in a statement to AllThingsD. Java has not shipped with Macs since the release of OS X Lion.
The Mac malware could have been used to deliver a backdoor onto the computers via the installation of an SSH Daemon, allowing hackers to remotely control parts of the affected system, Finnish virus experts F-Secure indicated in a blog post on Monday.
At the time, they classed the Facebook hack as a “watering hole” attack, which sought to target Facebook users by infecting the company behind the social network.
With the revelations from Apple, it appears the attack could have been part of a widespread hacking campaign against various companies including Facebook and Twitter as well.
At the time of writing Google had not responded to queries about whether it had also been targeted, and Microsoft declined to comment.
The news comes alongside the release of a report on Tuesday that linked the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to hackers that have been mounting a “Cold War” style campaign against Western companies.
The report implicated the PLA in a variety of major hacking campaigns that have occurred over the past few years, including 2011’s RSA hack that compromised SecurID encryption tokens. ®