Here Come The Mac Hackers… Or Maybe Not

from the on-the-way... dept

Every time a new virus or attack comes out, someone has to chime in with the comment “buy a Mac.” Apparently that won’t be good enough any more. Along with Apple’s increased popularity comes the news that more hackers are targeting the Mac system for security holes. Yet again, the issue of security often has as much to do with how popular the system is as opposed to how insecure it may really be. Update: Ah, damn me for being too fast to post. In looking around I’m seeing that Symantec (the same company that put out the initial report) is also saying that Mozilla is under more of an attack also. Seeing as both announcements are coming from a security firm… it certainly sounds like someone’s trying to sell a bit more software this week, and there weren’t enough actual security problems to trigger one of their standard “the internet is ending” press releases. As someone points out in the comments, there’s little actual evidence to back up these claims just yet. It may be true, but we’re not going to take Symantec’s word for it just yet.

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Comments on “Here Come The Mac Hackers… Or Maybe Not”

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Dan Semaya says:

I don't think so

This report by Symantec has absolutely no numbers or facts to back it up. They are counting the number of VULNERABILITIES not the number of attacks. The vulnerabilities announced almost always are in open source packages that are included in OS X, as well as most other *nix distros. This doesn’t make OS X less secure than other operating systems since there are many more vulnerabilities in windows and equal number of vulnerabilities in other unix operating systems.

fernando says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

It’s not tough to back up at all. If you search around the web, you’ll find security studies done by numerous security firms that compare the security of windows vs. linux, and other unixes including BSD unix which is the foundation for OS X. In all the studies that I have read, the various unixes including OS X have come out on top. I wish more people in the web press would do a bit more research before regurgitating statements by a company that most definitely has an agenda.

knight37 (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Actually, I would disagree with that. There is definitely something to the notion that a system that is widely used becomes a much bigger target than one that is only used by the fringe. People who want to write viruses or trojans want to affect the most people possible, so they are going to spend the most effort trying to break it. The more people look at it, the more likely they are to find vulnerabilities. EVERY system has vulnerabilities, because no one can think of every possible way a system could be compromised. Now admittedly, Windows is nowhere near secure, they put way too much trust in the developer and so there’s too many ways to break it. And then sometimes they even fix something but it somehow comes back. So no, Windows is not a good example of this. And of course there will be the occasional very popular system that is also very secure. But in general, the more popular the system, the more people who are at least TRYING to break it, and so more likely to have KNOWN vulnerabilities.

knight37 (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

Oh and I was going to mention something else but I forgot. While OSX and Firefox may not be as popular as Windows and Internet Exploder, the really important thing is how quickly they can react to known vulnerabilities. I mean, MicroSloth doesn’t move very fast. A flaw may be known for months, hell maybe even years before they finally fix it. If Apple and the Mozilla team can respond better than that, I’d argue that their systems are “more secure” just because when things are found wrong with it, it gets fixed quicker and so people who use their products are exposed for less time.

Will Colsher says:

Re: Vulnerabilities

There are vunerabilities in the Mac OS, But there are no viruses affecting Mac Users, and there have been 0 successful Hacker attacks againts macintosh computers using OSX. The vunerabilities reported, all 37 of them were patched months ago, and even if they hadn’t been, not a single one of them could have been exploited on a mass scale. Every single one of them requires root access on a local network, something that the OS doesn’t give the user, and none of these vunerabilities can be exploited remotley. These “vunerabilities” are essentially a non issue.

Also the scale argument makes no sense. if 3 percent of users are Mac users, Then it would follow that there would be at least one trojan or virus for the mac, right? wrong, out of over 600 viruses and trojans reported last year for windows, and thousands that go unreported, not a single one has affected and installed base of over 30 million users.

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