|By Maureen O'Gara||
|February 20, 2013 08:45 AM EST||
Tuesday when a report by American security firm Mandiant that's been six years in the making was circulating tracing an "overwhelming percentage" of Communist China's far-flung corporate and governmental cyber espionage to a 12-story building in Shanghai connected with the People's Liberation Army know as PLA 61398, the usually secure Apple disclosed that its Macs had been hacked and infected with malware by bad guys leveraging the known vulnerabilities that Oracle doesn't seen to be able to eradicate from the Java software used as a browser plug-in.
Facebook last Friday confessed to experiencing the same infestation.
The Apple hack hit a "small number" of internal Macs belonging to Apple developers who visited a developer site purposely infected with malicious code designed specifically to attack Macs.
It also attacked Mac computers at corporate accounts outside the company.
Reuters, which described it as the "highest-profile cyber attack to date on businesses running Mac computers," said it attacked "hundreds of companies including defense contractors."
It is unclear if the Apple and Facebook attacks had anything to do with Building 61398 although there have been reports that the Facebook attack on some laptops on its network traced back to China.
Both companies have denied any data loss. Law enforcement has been called in. When last heard from Apple was working on some repair code. The Mac OS disables Java if it hasn't been used for 35 days.
Meanwhile, besides its 60-page report Mandiant has released a video that's supposed to show actual attacks. The New York Times, which suffered a weeks-long secret attack a couple of weeks ago along with the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, ran a big story about the Mandiant report, which concludes that the attacks are government-sponsored and stealing US, Canadian and UK IP.
President Barak Obama just signed an executive order encouraging companies to share confidential information such as hackers' unique signatures with intelligence agencies.
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