Apple has confirmed that some computers belonging to its employees had been targeted by hackers originating from China – the same group, reportedly, that last week infiltrated computers belonging to Facebook employees. The story was first reported by Reuters.

In an email, Apple provided Macworld with a statement on the breach, saying:

"Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers. The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers. We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple. We are working closely with law enforcement to find the source of the malware."

"Since OS X Lion, Macs have shipped without Java installed, and as an added security measure OS X automatically disables Java if it has been unused for 35 days. To protect Mac users that have installed Java, today we are releasing an updated Java malware removal tool that will check Mac systems and remove this malware if found."

Apple is only the latest target in a recent spate of cyber attacks that have hit institutions like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal along with tech companies like Facebook and Twitter; most of those attacks have been traced back to China. The attack on Facebook, in particular, appears to have been committed via the same Java vulnerability as the Apple breach.

Historically, Macs have not been a popular target for security attacks of this sort, though the ecosystem has battled a few outbreaks of malware over the past few years. However, it seems likely—given the pattern of recent attacks—that the target was Apple itself, rather than its platform at large.

Original story here: Apple confirms cyber attack, will release security tool