Feeds

Mac lambs line up for slaughter

Is Apple airtight?

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The unveiling of Apple's super-thin MacBook Air promises to expand further the Mac user base. That's troubling news for a platform that, as it enjoys greater uptake, risks the darker side of fandom - stalkers. Or, in this case, hackers and virus writers.

Security specialist F-Secure's latest claim to have discovered the first rogue program for the Apple Macintosh - MacSweeper - comes only weeks after it reported it's finding an alarming increase in the quantity of malware written for the Mac.

The MacSweeper scam - a Mac version of the false security scan familiar to Windows users - surfaced last month when some Mac users noticed the program had sneaked into their Mac OS/X systems.

The scammers cheekily stole the MacSweeper name from an obscure open source Mac clean-up utility program that has been available free since 2004. Whether consciously or not, they managed to exploit the confusion among some naive Mac users.

Apple users are, ahem, traditionally overly confident about their platform's security capabilities and F-Secure's report was dismissed as a cynical ploy to sell security protection.

This is a common criticism of security software companies. But the MacSweeper scam - while not an actual security breach - does highlight the possibility that the Mac's increased sales last year have made it a more attractive target for hackers.

Security specialist Secunia also noted that a small increase in Macintosh security problems in 2007 and a recently highlighted flaw in Quicktime - that still awaits a fix - raises questions about the Mac community's view of security issues.

Last month, Apple's attitude to security fixes was questioned and the criticism again rejected by Mac users with snooty assertions that Mac OS/X was secure - or at least a lot more secure than Microsoft Windows systems. So much so that there is a potentially huge contract waiting for Apple to supply the US military with Macs mainly because they are seen as more secure than PCs.

Apple has, of course, always maintained it takes security seriously. The recent Leopard release of Mac OS/X included new security features that were followed with updates in December.

The problem is that no matter how secure software is, there is always a way to break it and there will always be those who see it as a challenge. Times change, and Apple's growing user community cannot afford to be smug.®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.