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15 May 2012, 11:00

Flashback removal tool arrives for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

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Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Apple has announced the release of a standalone Flashback malware removal tool for computers running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, even though the operating system is no longer officially supported. Like the security updates for 10.6 Snow Leopard and 10.7 Lion, the 1.23MB tool removes "most common variants of the Flashback malware", which reportedly infected more than 600,000 systems, exploiting flaws in earlier versions of Java.

Should the tool find a Flashback trojan, users will be presented with a dialogue notifying them that it was removed; depending on the variant removed, the tool may require users to restart their system. Additionally, the tool disables the Java plug-in in the Safari web browser. This is important, as Apple has not issued an updated version of Java for Leopard, leaving the security holes exploited by malware such as Flashback open. However, users can re-enable Java by selecting Safari ➤ Preferences ➤ Security and checking "Enable Java".

The company has also published Leopard Security Update 2012-003 to disable older versions of the Adobe Flash Player which don't include the current security updates; Apple did the same thing in its recent Safari 5.1.7 update. For users with older versions of Flash Player installed, the update provides an option for users to get the latest release from Adobe's web site.

The Flashback Removal tool and Security Update 2012-003 are available from Apple's Support Downloads site. Alternatively, users can install the security update using the built-in Software Update function. All users are advised to install these updates.

Update: The removal tool and security update only run on Intel based Mac systems.

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