17 March 2006 | 8,868 views

Measuring up the Security Risks for Mac – Are Apple Prepared?

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The fact is Windows is getting ripped apart with viruses, spamware, spyware, zombie clients, trojans worms and whatever else you can think of.

Mac and Linux aren’t (at the moment), there are already Bluetooth viruses, so why not Linux and Mac..

Some may say it’s because they are inherently more secure, the architecture and user privelege seperationg means it’s hard for any kind of malware to infect the system…plus they don’t come with crap like Internet Exploder that’s tied into the operating system.

There have been a couple of worms for Linux, mostly praying on Apache, and then the OpenSSL bug that allowed you to get access (combined with the kernel flaw in 2.4 you could easily get root access).

eWeek asks, What will Apple do when the malware comes? Which inevitably it will..

The release in the last few days of malware for the Mac and Linux underscore some old issues about how it is possible to have malware on those platforms. I have some new thoughts though. I’ve begun to wonder what Apple would do if a real problem developed.

To be very clear, a real problem has not yet developed, and Inqtana.A and Leap.A are not a real problem, except to the extent that they may be bellwethers. They are more interesting for what they suggest than what they actually do.

As with Windows, a lot of it is a consumer issue, and down to education.

With Mac, the user does run as a non-priveleged user by default, but when installing any software they can just pop in the Admin password and it’ll install.

It’s all about social engineering, making the user believe they want it, it’s something ‘cool’ or useful.

When good social engineering attacks are developed for the Mac, the same thing will happen. It’s not hard to imagine Web sites and e-mails offering programs for the Mac that do more than they claim to do.

Just in terms of adware, there may be some benefit to being able to deliver known Mac users to advertisers, but for the most part the “value” of infecting the user is the same: to spread itself, and perhaps to create a Mac botnet.

Few have tried to write Malware for OSX yet, but I guess it will happen, the question is are Apple prepared?



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5 Responses to “Measuring up the Security Risks for Mac – Are Apple Prepared?”

  1. kurt wismer 17 March 2006 at 2:38 pm Permalink

    “Mac and Linux aren’t (at the moment), there are already Bluetooth viruses, so why not Linux and Mac..”

    there ARE mac and linux viruses…

    there are a number of popular myths about viruses for the mac that deserve to be debunked

  2. Darknet 17 March 2006 at 3:43 pm Permalink

    kurt: Thanks for the spam, but read the article. I didn’t say there were NO viruses, I didn’t say OSX or Linux was immune, I said the amount of viruses were LOW and their impact is minor compared to the shit Windows viruses are dishing out. Cheers :)

    To be very clear, a real problem has not yet developed, and Inqtana.A and Leap.A are not a real problem, except to the extent that they may be bellwether

  3. kurt wismer 17 March 2006 at 4:01 pm Permalink

    the part of your post that i quoted does state that there were no viruses… perhaps you meant something else there, but the way i interpret “there are already bluetooth viruses, so why not linux and mac” is that there are no mac or linux viruses…

    perhaps it was just ambiguous…

  4. Darknet 18 March 2006 at 5:13 am Permalink

    kurt: Yah I guess, I’ll try and be clearer, wasn’t trying to say there were none, just that the risk they pose is nowhere near as high as the risk generated from Windows malware.

  5. backbone 18 March 2006 at 2:12 pm Permalink

    but let’s not forget that script kiddies scan thousands of IP addresses, mainly UNIX ones… and due to various flaws in rlogin they can gain access to UNIX sistems…