Microsoft has often received a bad wrap regarding the security of their operating systems, but the last time that there was a major security concern, it wasn’t Redmond that was trying to put out the fires, but rather it was Cupertino.
With the Flashback Trojan, Apple had its hands full as Mac OS X users were potentially vulnerable to this malware. Although the issue is now behind the company, a look back by Symantec has revealed that the Flashback Trojan has generated significant revenues for its authors. The reason behind this was that one component of the OSX.Flashback.K trojan was ad clicking whose sole purpose was to create income. The way this worked was when a user on an infected Mac would perform a Google search, Flashback would evaluate the search and potentially redirect the user to a website that the malware author selected. As such, it was not Google that was generating ad revenue, but rather the Trojan writer.
Because of the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of infected devices, Symantec estimates that this Trojan generated nearly $10,000/day in ad revenue. Since then, Apple has created a removal tool and by all accounts, the infection rate has gone down and along with it, so has the creators’ steady income stream.