Apple Inc was recently attacked by hackers who infected the Macintosh computers of some employees, the company said on Tuesday in an unprecedented disclosure that described the widest known cyber attacks against Apple-made computers to date.
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 company said in a statement provided to Reuters.
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.
But a person briefed on the investigation into the attacks said that hundreds of companies, including defense contractors, had been infected with the same malicious software, or malware.
The attacks mark the highest-profile cyber attacks to date on businesses running Mac computers. Hackers have traditionally focused on attacking machines running the Windows operating system, though they have gradually turned their attention to Apple products over the past couple of years as the company gained market share over Microsoft Corp.
“This is the first really big attack on Macs,” said the source, who declined to be identified because the person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. “Apple has more on its hands than the attack on itself.”