SAN FRANCISCO – Apple said it was hit by hackers who wormed their way into the company’s system but evidently failed to steal any data.
The firm said Tuesday it is working with law enforcement officials to hunt down the hackers, who appeared tied to a series of brazen recent cyber-attacks on U.S. technology firms that have revived concerns over Chinese hackers who analysts say are likely linked to Beijing.
“The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers,” Apple said. “We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network.”
The malicious software, or malware, took advantage of a vulnerability in a Java program used as a plug-in for Web browsing programs. A “small number” of computer systems at Apple were infected but they were isolated from the main network, according the company.
“There is no evidence that any data left Apple,” Apple said. “We are working closely with law enforcement to find the source of the malware.”
Apple took the added steps of releasing a Macintosh computer operating system update that disables Java software that hasn’t been used for 35 days or longer, and a tool for finding and removing the malware.
Word of hackers hitting Apple came just days after leading social network Facebook said it was “targeted in a sophisticated attack” last month. “Facebook was not alone in this attack,” the Northern California-based company said. “It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well.”
It is unclear whether it was the same website blamed for the attack on Apple.
A similar cyberstrike against Twitter earlier this month stole the passwords of about 250,000 users.
“This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident,” Twitter information security director Bob Lord said at the time. He said there was an “uptick in large-scale security attacks aimed at U.S. technology and media companies.”