Once upon time, people with Apple computers believed that their devices were impenetrable when it came to malware. That myth has been dispelled. Once again the Mac OS has been infiltrated by malicious software.

A malware program called Flashback has infected nearly 600,000 Apple computers, according to research conducted by Russian security software vendor Dr. Web. It was first detected in September 2011. Some may remember that, also in 2011, an unknown number of Apple computer users fell victim to a bogus anti-virus called “Mac Defender.”

Computers get infected with the Flashback botnet, said Dr. Web, “after a user is redirected to a bogus site from a compromised resource or via a traffic distribution system. JavaScript code is used to load a Java-applet containing an exploit. Doctor Web’s virus analysts discovered a large number of websites containing the code.”

According to the BBC, Apple issued a patch. Oracle, which develops Java, issued a critical patch update in February 2012 to correct the problem, but because Apple controls Java updates in its computers, it did Apple users no good.

Anyone who thinks his computer could be infected can visit F-Secure to learn how to detect and remove the Flashback malware program.