Mac OS X Snow Leopard Bundled With Malware Detector

Ah we saw this coming didn’t we, back in June we reported on Apple Struggling With Security & Malware and now they have shown they were paying attention.

Even though they tried to do so quietly, they are slipping a ‘malware detector’ into the latest OS X update known as Snow Leopard.

The problem is though, it only scans for two trojans? Seems a bit pointless to me.

Although Mac OS X is considered by many to be the most secure operating system available to end users, it does suffer from security issues. Perhaps the new malware detector in Apple’s new Mac OS X Snow Leopard release will help prove that.

Mac OS X is viewed by many as the most secure operating system on the market. It’s certainly considered far more secure than Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

But with a report hitting the wire Wednesday claiming Apple’s new Mac OS X release, Snow Leopard, will feature a malware-detection tool, some of those beliefs might be put into question.

According to reports, Mac OS X will feature an application that will scan the user’s Mac for known trojans. It will also flag malicious files if they are downloaded from Safari, iChat, Entourage and a few other applications. There’s just one catch: that feature will only look for two trojans. Every other possibly damaging trojan will not be scanned for.

Only two trojans? Why not make it a full on malware scanner, or at least something a little more useful than a finite scanner.

I mean even Windows pushes their Malicious Software Removal Tool and I’m sure it scans for more than just two threats.

Either way it’s a step in the right direction and Apple are acknowledging their OS isn’t bullet proof and they need to do something to address that.

Over the past few months, we have seen several Mac OS X security issues hit the wire. From security outbreaks to an update that included several security fixes, it was becoming clear that Mac OS X’s reputation for strong security wasn’t as reliable as some believed. And if Mac OS X Snow Leopard does, in fact, feature that new malware detector, it could change everything. Just don’t expect Apple to change.

“The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box,” Apple wrote on the company’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard page. “However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, anti-virus software may offer additional protection.”

I’m a little shocked by that statement. Although Apple does admit that no system is totally immune from issues, it says anti-virus software “may” offer additional protection. I think that perpetuates the myth that end users don’t need to worry about Mac OS X security.

I think the landscape for Apple is changing, as they get more users in the marketplace they WILL be exposed to more threats.

And more people will have their fingers in the operating system trying to break it for fun and profit. With Mac machines being sold as lifestyle products you can bet the majority of Apple users aren’t very tech savvy.

You can’t really compare it to the Linux desktop market, but even then Linux does have anti-virus software available for free and commercially.

Source: eWeek

Posted in: Apple, Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Malware

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3 Responses to Mac OS X Snow Leopard Bundled With Malware Detector

  1. Steven September 2, 2009 at 3:14 am #

    There has been Mac anti-virus software for years, it is not something new. Many of the Linux tools also work.

    I’m not worried that they only look for two trojans. They are checking for things that are in the wild infecting users… of those, only users who install pirated and untrustworthy apps, and give them administrative permissions, are having any of these issues at all.

  2. Anon-y-mouse September 18, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    I work at a company that uses a 80% apple products and the users are rabid and technologically inept, I understand the average end user who isn’t a fanboy buying a mac because they think they will have less to worry about; but the fanboys perpetuate the myth that apple products will NEVER be targeted and are invulnerable (clearly they lack the sense god gave goats) and they are just leading themselves and the lambs to the eventual slaughter.

    Luckily I don’t have to manage the bloody things! I am just thankful apple hasn’t start manufacturing network infrastructure devices then I would have to quit because the company would jump all over that…

    “Oh! Look it’s shiny, white AND it blinks!”

  3. jl October 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    Jail is Jail.