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Frustrated fanbois rejoice as Facebook releases MIDAS Mac security tool

Open source framework lets admins homebrew their own tools

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Facebook and Etsy have teamed-up to develop and publish as open source a security tool for Apple's Macs, following similar moves by Google.

The "Project MIDAS" Mac intrusion detection framework was announced by Facebook in a blog post on Friday, and sees the two companies collaborate on a tool to help companies manage large deployments of Macs.

The Python-based MIDAS framework lets Mac admins monitor clients for things such as changes to kernel extensions, LaunchAgents, LaunchDaemons, and Network Configurations.

"This gives you the ability to quickly audit your assets for threats like IceFog, Dockster, Imuler, Morcut, PubSab, etc," they write.

It is extensible, and the initial open source code comes with a few helper utilities, and an example module for client monitoring.

Code for the project is stored on Github.

Facebook imagines that if people want to deploy MIDAS they will create a private fork of the public project, add specific modules and helpers, deploy the customized MIDAS framework, and then analyse the logs afterward for anomalies.

With the tech, Facebook and Etsy have joined Google in building their own custom tools for managing Macs. Google was compelled to build its own suite of Mac management tools – many of which it plans to publish as open source – due to Apple's lack of willingness to provide new features in a timely manner.

Though Apple has recently seen great success in consumer electronics, it has also stepped back from providing tools to the enterprise.

In recent years, for instance, it retired its Apple server line, and slowed the pace at which it updated its main management software and its workhorse Mac Pro.

Though this devotion of resources to the larger and faster-growing markets of iPads, iPhones, and other iWotsits is sensible from a business point of view, it seems to be causing grief among Valley tech companies due to their employees' love of Mac products. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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