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Flashback, the first major Mac attack
The Flashback Trojan was the latest malware to hit Apple Mac machines running OS X. It ultimately led to Apple removing the "virus-free" slogan from its Web site and marketing strategy after the highly publicized malware attack. More than 600,000 Macs were understood to have been infected by unknowingly installing the Adobe Flash-lookalike software.
The malware was designed to pilfer user passwords and other data through the Web browser and other applications, such as Skype. Perhaps more worryingly, some users may find that the rogue software installs itself automatically without any user intervention at all.
It was bound to happen; five years ago there was practically no malware for the Mac platform due to its all-but non-existent market share. As the Mac becomes more popular, it is increasingly becoming a target for hackers and data thieves.
Middle East gets Flame'd in cyberwarfare, round two
Not so long after Stuxnet was discovered in June 2010, another round of cyberwarfare attacks began in the Middle East. Dubbed "Flame" by the malware finder Kaspersky Lab, due to fragments of code noting the word in the source code, the sophisticated malware was about twenty-times the size of Stuxnet in file size and just as, if not even more dangerous.
It was thought to be targeting machines in Iran, the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, Sudan, Syria, and others in the region, and was far more sophisticated than Stuxnet in a number of ways. However, instead of targeting the physical infrastructure attached to the network, it was designed to steal data and collect audio and video content from webcams and microphones.
It was an intelligence-gathering piece of malware and clearly developed by a state-actor or government. But who exactly remain a mystery still.
Russia enacts Internet blacklist law
Soon after the Russian president Vladimir Putin was elected for another term, the Internet was high up on his agenda, including how to prevent ordinary people from rebelling by seeing dissidents' and protesters' Web sites, among other things.
It was designed as a Web blocking bill -- pornography, drug references and "extremist ideas," but it was ill defined and poorly written and could have given the Kremlin wide-ranging powers to block out vast swathes of the Russian Web. It was, in effect, no different from the U.K.'s Digital Economy Act or the SOPA bill that went before the U.S. House earlier in the year.
Ultimately it was passed by the country's Duma but with a number of clarifications and changes that allowed certain content to be blocked, but ultimately "harmful content" was defined properly in the act following widespread criticism that the ambiguous wording would give the judiciary and government powers that could block sites that it found politically undesirable.