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Mac OS X Maximum Security

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the then-he'd-have-to-kill-you dept.

Operating Systems 154

honestpuck writes "Security has long been a concern for Unix administrators who find themselves connected to the sometimes dark and dirty world of the Internet. With the advent of personal operating systems with file sharing, remote login and built-in web servers, and the spread of broadband networks with their always-on connectivity, it should now be a concern for everyone." Specifically, honestpuck is talking here about Mac OS X; read on for his review of Sams Publishing's Mac OS X Maximum Security.

It really didn't concern me until one day when I was checking the logs on my Mac OS X box while developing a web app and discovered dozens of entries from all over the globe probing my box to see if it was an insecure IIS server. I then decided I needed to pay attention to security alerts and the help of a book like Macintosh OS X Maximum Security to help me understand and fix any holes.

The Good

The book is divided into four sections. Part 1 is about learning to think about security, covering such topics as physical security and protection from your users and bad guys. Part II, 'Vulnerabilities and Exposures,' covers the various sorts of attack such as password attacks, trojans and worms, sniffers and spoofing. Part III, 'Specific Mac OS X Resources and How To Secure Them,' covers just that, the various servers such as FTP, mail, Apache and SSH and how to go about making them safe. The final part covers attack prevention, detection, reaction and recovery with topics such as firewalls, alarm systems, logs and disaster planning.

Macintosh OS X Maximum Security is a large, extremely comprehensive volume. For the average person who wants to protect a small home network the information it provides is probably overkill. To make matters worse, the style is fairly verbose, particularly in the first section. Of course, if you want to secure a company network then you may need to know all the information -- and so all this background material is useful, if only so you can reach the right level of paranoia and suspicion.

The book is not a 'recipe' book that tells you "take these steps and you will have a secure machine"; rather it takes you through the possible holes and how to fix them. This approach seems much better for security, since it teaches you a respect for the places you have to open up and a methodical approach to doing so that will hopefully carry over beyond the specifics addressed. Any recipe is bound to have flaws since the operating system and the services are all changing, I'm hoping the methods and style this book have imparted to me will last beyond any changes.

The book also deals well with all the Macintosh-specific stuff, informing you well about such topics as Rendezvous, Apple Remote Desktop, using NetInfo and the like. One aspect that isn't well covered is Airport; securing an 802.11 network is barely touched on.

The Bad

The information provided in all areas of the book is quite detailed, and includes many links to further places to look for more (and more recent) information. Once again, for a book in an ever-changing field like security, this is a huge benefit. I would have appreciated some sort of a small website devoted to the book with the links mentioned gathered together and perhaps some notes on how things may have changed since the book's publication. Unfortunately the Sams Publishing site has a broken link to the book and while the authors say "we are creating a security section for the www.macosxunleashed.com website," no such section exists as I was writing this review. Frankly I am disappointed at this, I think with a book on this sort of topic it behooves either the publisher or author to provide a place for errata, discussion and notes. The best you can do is go to Amazon where you can see the Table of Contents and one chapter. [Ed. Note: The site's errata section is currently up and running.]

My only real complaint with the book itself is the huge size, and the long-winded nature of some of the material. I found the first two sections in particular almost tedious and definitely lecturing in tone. I would have rated this book higher if the editors at Sams had taken a large red pencil to slabs of the first section. Overall, I'd say that while not a 'must buy,' this book will have to do till I find something better, and I expect to loan my copy to several friends.


You can purchase Mac OS X Maximum Security from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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154 comments

How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734274)

Many Unix geeks, particularly on Slashdot [slashdot.org], have praised Apple's decision to base Mac OS X off of the enterprise-ready BSD codebase. However, it seems that most have never actually taken a closer look at this OS. If they had, a closer inspection would reveal that Apple's philosophy toward *nix and Linux [sco.com] compatibility has been one of "embrace and extend", and this is meant in the M$ sense. Wherever possible, Apple has engineered their operating system to be incompatible with industry standards. Simply put, Mac OS X is a nonstandard, bastardized Unix that bears about as much resemblance to the real thing as does, say, Windows ME.

Let's start with the windowing environment, since that is the first thing users will notice. While both KDE [kde.org] and GNOME are mature, stable, and accepted as IEEE [microsoft.com] standards, Apple has elected to use neither. In fact, they don't even use X at all! Their display system is a proprietary, closed-source system called Quartz Extreme. In addition to the moral issues involved with closed software, this precludes the user from running X apps. There is an untested and alpha-quality X11 emulation layer available for download, but it is emulation, so programs will be slow. Does this sound like a standards-based system to you?

Looking under the hood, it gets worse. While all other *nixes use standard ELF binaries, Darwin (Apple's name for their proprietary "Unix" kernel) does not. It uses Mach-O, an unproven format that is proprietary to Apple. The moribund FreeBSD, off which OS X is based, uses ELF, so clearly Apple went to the extra effort of "switching" (heh) simply to break compatibility. With ELF, users would be able to run most of their Lunix apps; with Mach-O this is impossible. Additionally, Apple has moved most configuration info fromhuman readable text files into a proprietary database called "NetInfo", which is much like the Windows registry we all loathe. Why? These are only a few of the ways that Apple has deliberately broken compatibility with other systems, presumably in order to lock users in to expensive Mac hardware.

When we factor in the threat to users' civil liberties that is posed by the DRM included to support the iTunes Music Store (do you really think it will end there?) it is obvious that real *nix gurus should give OS X a wide berth. Caveat emptor.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734411)

BRAVO! A google search shows that you wrote that. So THAT'S WHY nothing would compile or run on OS X! And why the fuck are you people rating that troll? That should be a +5 insightful!

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (2, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734430)

WOW you have a bug up your ass about Apple

First off your right the windowing enviroment is not KDE or GNOME, its designed with a OS 9 and prior user in mind. BUT it doesnt preclude the use of X apps since you can infact run X apps no problem with X11 which is a free download FROM APPLE!!!! Panther will actually have this built in BTW.

Second unless you have been living under a rock Darwin has a huge thriving open community and has full access to a lot of the OS from Apple.

Third Mach is neXt NOT Apple, yes owned by Steve, but the true story on how they came to use is is actually a really interesting read and has more to do with the man who created OS X than it does anything Apple told the team to do (Apple had their own kernal that was trashed by the guy)

And everything in netinfo is able to be done in terminal so dont open your mouth unless you know what the hell your talking about.

And of course they locked users in.... THEY ARE A HARDWARE COMPANY NOT A SOFTWARE COMPANY!!!! I hate when people miss the fact that Apple supports its self on hardware, NOT software. Why the hell do you think they killed off the clones, they where losing money big time to the point of going under.

Are you daft? (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734470)

your're kidding right? using a database rather than spewing custom format poorly documented text config files, how is that not an imporvement?. the data base allows reporducible installs and uninstalls, extensibility, remote admin, and automated scripting that hand edited text files could never be counted on to perform reilably (e.g. I edit a config script and now my custom perl sys admin tool cant properly edit it). also apparently you are not aware that the apple system does support most of the test based config files as an extention to netinfo and that using nidump and niload you can workd with the data base in those formats if you cant figure out how to use a database. finally even apple is relegating netinfo to the past and moving on to ldap like systems.

X11 is not a modern windows system. and its not approriate to the apple model either with all its hidden text file tweaks. In use its pretty good but quartz is much better it would appear (I only can observe the finished product not the nuts and bolts).

as for mach-O they have laready proven their worth in the seemless portability of next code across multiple platforms and cpu. ELF was not as mature as it is now when NeXT was derived from BSD, so its not a evil conspiracy but a rational choice they made to free themselves to make a seemless platform without having to keep it compatible with a hodgepodge of non standard ELF binaries. why should apple abandon a proven success now.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (2, Insightful)

Knife_Edge (582068) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734596)

Looking under the hood, it gets worse. While all other *nixes use standard ELF binaries, Darwin (Apple's name for their proprietary "Unix" kernel) does not. It uses Mach-O, an unproven format that is proprietary to Apple. The moribund FreeBSD, off which OS X is based, uses ELF, so clearly Apple went to the extra effort of "switching" (heh) simply to break compatibility. Additionally, Apple has moved most configuration info from human readable text files into a proprietary database called "NetInfo", which is much like the Windows registry we all loathe. Why? These are only a few of the ways that Apple has deliberately broken compatibility with other systems, presumably in order to lock users in to expensive Mac hardware.

Sure, this guy is a troll. But these are legitimate criticisms, with at least a grain of truth to them anyway. I especially hate the poorly documented NetInfo, and I'd like to add that it is impossible to cross-compile with OS X as a target, due mostly to their unconventional binary format. Very trollish tone, I'll admit, but we should all remember that OS X is set up as a closed system from many perspectives. I recall another fellow who was moderated as a troll for criticizing the iTunes music store as being evidence of Jobs desire to turn the computer into a digital shopping mall.

And I suppose the rebuttal is that hey, Apple is a company, and their goal is to make money, so all this is ok. Well, unfortunately I do not regard 'making money any way you can' as the highest and noblest pursuit of humanity. If Microsoft is any evidence, maybe the problem in the software industry is that being nice does not work to make money. Still, I am less than pleased with Apple taking exclusionary steps towards the freedom of their users. I like the way Aqua looks, and I have no problem with it, but NetInfo? What is the purpose of NetInfo? It certainly isn't an improvement, and actually has some fairly serious security problems, in that any user with shell access can view the entire database with nidump, including passwords of any other user.

As for the binary formats and cross-compilation issues, Apple's attitude is that if you want to develop for OS X, better have an OS X system! I think their business is being hurt a lot by being built around the need to sell their proprietary hardware.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (2, Informative)

code shady (637051) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735337)

[shadyserver: ~] shady% apropos netinfo

netinfo(3) - library routines for NetInfo calls
netinfod(8) - NetInfo daemon
nibindd(8) - NetInfo binder
nicl(1) - NetInfo command line utility
nidomain(8) - NetInfo domain utility
nidump(8) - extract text or flat-file-format data from NetInfo
nifind(1) - find a directory in the NetInfo hierarchy
nigrep(1) - search for a regular expression in the NetInfo hierarchy
niload(8) - load text or flat-file-format data into NetInfo
nireport(1) - print tables from the NetInfo hierarchy
niutil(1) - NetInfo utility

NetInfo is not really analogous to the windows registry. if you want to compare it to something in the windows world, a better comparison would be active directory.

NetInfo is basically a directory services manager, and is used for managing users, groups, machines, etc etc. It had read/write ability with LDAP v3, and read only ability for LDAP v2. It can also read its configuration from the standard bsd flat files, using the niload utility. You can even dump your netinfo configuration for printers, users, hosts and such to a standard bsd flat file using the nidump util.

But the best part of NetInfo is that it can integrate almsot seamlessly with an active directory domain, and get all its users and policy from your windows active directory server. once you get beyond the "its proprietary/i-dont-understand-it/im-scared-of-chan ge" line of thought, NetInfo is a very powerful tool.
For more refence, the great book "Mac OS X for Unix Geeks" has a whole chapter devoted to netinfo, what it is, and how it works. The Mac Dev center also recently published two articles on netinfo, and integrating it with Active Directory. Part 1 [oreillynet.com] and Part 2 [oreillynet.com]

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (2, Funny)

NaugaHunter (639364) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735694)

I think their business is being hurt a lot by being built around the need to sell their proprietary hardware.

So, their business of selling hardware is being hurt by their need to sell hardware? No wonder they're always beleaguered.

Why Apple didn't use X for the window system (5, Informative)

mpaque (655244) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734612)

> they don't even use X at all!

What Apple is providing is an Apple-original window system that is graphics model agnostic, as well as a vector drawing system that maps very well to PDF, which is a sort of PostScript without the non-graphical operators. This is packaged under the name 'Quartz' for easy reference by Marketing types.

The window system is designed to support both buffered (like an offscreen PixMap) and unbuffered windows, and is graphics model agnostic, working equally well with QuickDraw, OpenGL, the Quartz drawing engine, X11, and third party solutions, and managing window geometry for the Classic, Carbon, and Cocoa environments. The server portion is a hybridization of screen arbiter and compositor models (and if that's all Geek to you, don't worry about it).

The Quartz drawing engine supports drawing primitives similar to the graphics primitives that might be found in the DPSClient single-operator primitives library for X and NeXTSTEP. There are no math and flow control primitives, as these can be done more efficiently in the native
compiled code. There are no DPS or PS wrappers, as this optimization for server-side graphics is not needed in the Quartz client-side graphics model.

The operations provide imaging and path construction and filling operations as well as some interesting other bits that map well into the direction that 2D drawing is headed. (See Longhorn, or the X raster projects.) The drawing engine can output to rasters (like a window!), as well as PS and PDF streams to feed printers. The Mac OS X printing system takes advantage of the capabilities of Quartz to support all sorts of printers, and make the life of printer driver developers much, much easier.

Things we'd need to add/extend in X Window software (protocol+server+manager+fonts+...):

1) Extend font server and services to vend outlines and antialiased masks, support more font types, handle font subsetting.
2) Extend drawing primitives to include PS-like path operations.
3) Add dithering and phase controls.
4) Add ColorSync support for drawing and imaging operations, display calibration
5) Add broad alpha channel support and Porter-Duff compositing, both for drawing in a window and for interactions between windows.
6) Add support for general affine transforms of windows
7) Add support for mesh-warps of windows
8) Make sure that OpenGL and special video playback hardware support is integrated, and behaves well with all above changes.
9) We find that we typically stream 200 Mb/sec of commands and textures for interactive OpenGL use, so transport efficiency could be an issue.

So, yes, it looks like we can use X for Quartz. All we need do is define extensions for and upgrade the font server, add dithering with phase controls to the X marking engine, add a transparency model to X imaging with Porter-Duff compositing support, make sure GLX gets in, upgrade the window buffering to include transparency, mesh warps, and really good resampling, and maybe augment the transport layer a bit.

Ummm... There doesn't appear to be much code left from the original X server in the drawing path or windowing machinery, and it doesn't appear that apps relying on these extensions can work with any other X server. Just what did we gain from this?

Oh, yeah. My mom can run an xterm session on her desktop now without downloading the Apple X11 package, a shareware X server or buying a software package.

Been there, evaluated that.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734655)

ATTENTION MODERATORS
HURRY!!! MOD PARENT DOWN
Parent mentions OS X in a potentially negative manner. We must unite and fight off any negative information so we can all go about living our lie and justify spending the money we did for these things.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (1)

shawnce (146129) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734696)

Wow... too much misinformation in this post to even bother correcting it.

Please put your tin foil hat back on.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (1)

alchemist68 (550641) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734906)

Some of Apple's configuration infomation is stored as plain old XML which is viewable and editable in any text editor.

'nuff said. Why oh why do people troll?

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735118)

Welcome to 1986, fucknut. Ever heard of NeXT?

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735286)

Looking under the hood, it gets worse. While all other *nixes use standard ELF binaries, Darwin (Apple's name for their proprietary "Unix" kernel) does not. It uses Mach-O, an unproven format that is proprietary to Apple.

You use that word a lot. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Proprietary does not mean less common.

Re:How secure can it be if it's PROPRIETARY? (1)

twocoasttb (601290) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735502)

Ignore this trolling moron; he posted the same idiotic diatribe in another topic a couple of weeks ago (see this [slashdot.org] if you must).

DAILY REMINDERS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734296)

DAILY REMINDERS:

max security??? (0, Funny)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734304)

doesn't that mean turning off the power to computer, and deassembling it, and taking apart the HardDrive so that no data is recoverable?

Re:max security??? (-1, Offtopic)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734335)

Why do you need to take apart the hard drive? Just smack it with a sledge hammer a few times and throw it in a lake.

Re:max security??? (-1, Offtopic)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734355)

You forgot to take a leak on the HD after it's disassembled.

Then burn it.

Sheesh... newbies!

Re:max security??? (1)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734628)

...and then hunting down the Darwin and OS X development teams at Apple and terminating them "Arnie-style" before they document anything more about the OS.

Alternatively, you could just nuke Apple's Cupertino campus.

BUSH = RECESSION (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734322)




Look around. Is your job secure?

Question (5, Interesting)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734357)

Any UNIX admins messed around wit OS X?

How secure is it, how secure can it be?

I've read a few articles describing certain features that it has (ease of use and gee-whiz stuff) that sounded to me like a potential vulnerability.

It seemed that a lot of these things were enabled by default and wide open.

I seriously hope this isn't the case. Apple's better than that, right?

I'm not trolling, i'm asking sincerely. With all the "OS X IS UNIX(tm)!!!" fanfare loudly touted in the press, i'd hate to see a major outbreak of compromised OSX machines to blacken the name of all things *nix.

Bottom line: If you're on the internet, paying attention to security is mandatory. Regardless of platform.

Re:Question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734421)

In today's news, Slashdotters vowed they would not "Take SCO's shit anymore" and decided to pull of some 'Fight Club' like anarchy acts on the offices of SCO. "Hey fuck that dude it's about open source. Maybe I could use this source to get a chick to open her source. I haven't been laid since I was on the wrestling team and my good buddy Chuck and I did the mutual masturbation thing." stated user Jeremy

We at here SBTS (Slashdot Behind The Scenes) have captured the frustrations of some and have sadly attempted to email this luser [slashdot.org] who sounded a bit suicidal with his " I'm so tired of this bullshit." comment. We wanted to let him know everything will be alllllllllll right there buddy.

Afterwards, Slashdot pulled off a first by posting an article about Slashdot, posting an article about SCO. After weeks of daily bombardments of SCO related articles Slashdot simply decided to post an article about them speaking about SCO.

"The problem is, we started running out of stories about SCO to post, I mean we did the SCO said foobar thing the other day, and we've bashed the company spokesperson before. Hell we've even ridiculed the parrot in the SCO offices. These stories are so yesterday, so what better way than to post something entirely new, hip, exciting, and very straight forward. Slashdot posting an article, about posting an article, about SCO. It's so retro and chick." stated Slashdot staff member Hemos

Re:Question (5, Informative)

computerme (655703) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734444)

everything is turned off by default.

apple has been very responsive to sec alerts and networking passwords are encrypted.

you can also ftp over ssh. (sftp) type stuff if you need to move a files over... there is also apple remote desktop and timbuktu to let you control the machine in all its aqua glory..

i do believe (for what its worth as I am comparing this to win and top tier linuxes) its the most secure out of the box..

insert blah blah no system is totally secure statement here

of course this is true, but out of the box and over the past 2 years OSX has been and is a reamrkable product...

Re:Question (4, Funny)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734463)

I've read a few articles describing certain features that it has (ease of use and gee-whiz stuff) that sounded to me like a potential vulnerability.

It seemed that a lot of these things were enabled by default and wide open.
The ease of use and gee-whiz stuff is indeed enabled by default and wide open. All network services (ssh, ftp, samba, apple filesharing, printer sharing aka cups, ...) are disabled by default though.

a very good question (5, Interesting)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734581)

I think OS X is fairly secure because it's easy to secure.

Apple releases security updates [apple.com] fairly quickly, and their Software Update system makes them available and easy to install for the average user. If I recall correctly, Mac OS X defaults to checking for updates weekly. Installation of updates may require an administrator password, but other than that it's as simple as a couple of clicks.

With my FreeBSD system, I subscribe to freebsd-security-notifications to keep abreast of updates. Knowing when updates are available and knowing how to apply them is probably beyond the average user's ability.

Depends on what kind of "security" you need (2, Interesting)

caveat (26803) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734644)

I've read a few articles describing certain features that it has (ease of use and gee-whiz stuff) that sounded to me like a potential vulnerability.

It seemed that a lot of these things were enabled by default and wide open.


Of course they are, OS X is primarily a /desktop/ system. Ill bet that OS X Server is a hell of a lot more secure out-of-the-box, but as far as desktop usability goes, I doubt its half the system plain X is. Security and usabilty are a hard balance to strike (believe me, just setting up a sandboxed guest account for Windows idiots who fsck things up while keeping my account carte blanche is challenge enough), and I dont think Apple really has the time to make sure X is really secure, or X Server is really usable as a desktop OS.

That said, everybody does need to keep some level of control over their systems - I keep all my "sensitive" data double-encrypted (AES disk images are so handy), keep my ports controlled, check my logs, dont use telnet or allow anon FTP, yadda yadda. Of course, Im more computer-savvy (or OS X savvy at least) than most, maybe if you or some other admins can dink around a little and write a little script or app that asks you what services and features you want, then locks down the box accordingly..

(Oh, BTW, a lot of the gee-whiz features arent as vulnerble as they sound - the Keychain, for example, uses strong encryption and only allows access by a single service. Yes, it unlocks when you login, but if somebody has your login password, you have bigger things to worry about. Of course, you need to be careful what apps you allow access to the keychain, but its not inherently insecure.)

XXXXX Maximum Security (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734380)

We need more of these. And more people to read them. How about Outlook Maximum Security?

Re:XXXXX Maximum Security (3, Funny)

the MaD HuNGaRIaN (311517) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734503)

I was working on my manuscript for "DCOM Maximum Security", but then my computer told me it was going to reboot because the RPC service terminated unexpectedly--and I lost all my work.

Re:XXXXX Maximum Security (3, Funny)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734544)

It would be a very short book. The first (and only) page would read, "Use Thunderbird instead."

Re:XXXXX Maximum Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734617)

I actually like Outlook... I just wish it were a little less bulky. You can't even use the scheduling without setting up some account, and the last time I checked, you can't set up an IMAP account on the initial setup. By the way.. I have been using Thunderbird for almost a week, and I'm loving an email client that's.. ahem... an email client.

Re:XXXXX Maximum Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734868)

Cool, thunderbird can work with exchange servers and do shared calendaring now? It must be in CVS, is it?

Re:XXXXX Maximum Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734786)

Outlook Maximum Security Isn't that an oxymoron?

Oddly enough.. (3, Funny)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734395)

.. when I think of OS X "Maximum Security", I can help but to think of the translucent plastic jail cell they kept Magneto in.

Ahh Macintosh... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734400)

"Security via obscurity."

Way to think different, Jobs.

this book doesn't sound too useful (4, Interesting)

kaan (88626) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734402)

From the origial post:

It really didn't concern me until one day when I was checking the logs on my Mac OS X box while developing a web app and discovered dozens of entries from all over the globe probing my box to see if it was an insecure IIS server.

I think that pretty much sums it up - IIS can easily be insecure, just like the rest of the Windows world. But why does that mean that the Mac's web server (Apache) should be a cause for concern?

I've been using OS X for about a year and a half, and I don't see how a "Mac specific" book on security is worth the cash outlay. Sure, there are pretty UI widgets to interface with things like Apache, ipfw, the ftp server, etc., and a how-to book might be useful for a novice. But I don't see why a book like this will distinguish itself given that most of the real security info is way more Unix-centric that it is Mac-centric.

From what I recall, most of the OS X system defaults were set to reasonable, fairly secure settings, unlike Windows where a basic install will leave a zillion services running on your machine, all of which are listening to the outside world, exposing some heinous portion of the OS to components that have no right messing with it in the first place.

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (5, Informative)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734855)

From what I recall, most of the OS X system defaults were set to reasonable, fairly secure settings, unlike Windows where a basic install will leave a zillion services running on your machine

For fun a decided to compare open ports on default but updated installs of OSX and XP.

Windows XP Box Port Scan

Interesting ports on 192.168.1.103:
(The 1639 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
Port State Service
135/tcp open loc-srv
139/tcp open netbios-ssn
445/tcp open microsoft-ds
1025/tcp open NFS-or-IIS
5000/tcp open UPnP

Max OSX Port Scan

All 1644 scanned ports on 192.168.1.105 are: closed

Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 20.910 seconds

Gentoo Port Scan

All 1644 scanned ports on 192.168.1.101 are: closed

Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0.357 seconds

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (4, Funny)

daeley (126313) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735019)

Ooooh, 192.168.1.103 is a vulnerable Windows box! Time for some hacking! I'll show asv108 who's....

What the--

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735234)

Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 20.910 seconds

Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0.357 seconds

HA HA !! Look how long it took to scan the OS X box! Macs SUCK!

:-) <-this means I'm joking, dear moderator

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (1)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735431)

All jokes aside, I would think it is a good thing to slow down port scanners, makes it harder to hack as many boxes if they all take 20 seconds to finish the port scan, right?

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735566)

The gentoo portscan was to the localhost, the mac port scan went through a wifi, thats why there was a speed difference.

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (1)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734885)

It really didn't concern me until one day when I was checking the logs on my Mac OS X box while developing a web app and discovered dozens of entries from all over the globe probing my box to see if it was an insecure IIS server.


I think that pretty much sums it up - IIS can easily be insecure, just like the rest of the Windows world. But why does that mean that the Mac's web server (Apache) should be a cause for concern?

This part had me stumpped too. He was able to "watch" his box trying to be gotten into and the requests were being denied. He was able to CHECK HIS LOGS! THE REQUESTS WERE BEING DENIED! (I'm sorry to yell, but...) That's a good part of the point of all this *NIX retoric of ours, I thought...

Re:this book doesn't sound too useful (1)

Willtor (147206) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735103)

I think that pretty much sums it up - IIS can easily be insecure, just like the rest of the Windows world. But why does that mean that the Mac's web server (Apache) should be a cause for concern?

His point is that he was simply using his personal computer, and there were people port scanning him. For a good long while (far too long), I was convinced I had security through obscurity. Why would anyone want to crack my computer? He probably had much the same perspective. With his logs, he was clearly wrong. It wasn't so much that Apache was a cause for concern in and of itself (or because IIS is more full of holes than Swiss cheese), but that he was missing the element of security on which he had previously been relying.

-wml

Security is a Myth. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734408)

I was under the impression, according to mac enthusiasts, that MacOS was the most secure thing on God's green Earth. We all know true security is theoretically and practically IMPOSSIBLE. It CAN NOT be done.

I, for one, hope this book goes to some length to give the Mac zealots a sobering reminder that there's isn't an untouchable ivory tower, and that proper care and feeding is required for *any* network-connected computer. Maybe then there will no longer be heated flamewars, no "PeeCee" name calling, and only calm reasoned discussion on the topic of security.

Re:Security is a Myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734584)

I read the book, its only 2 pages long and most of it is pictures.

Re:Security is a Myth. (0, Redundant)

sudnshok (136477) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734737)

It's not that Macs are immune to attack, it's just that there are far less people writing exploits to attack Mac systems. Most people write exploits for Windows since Microsoft is so hated, and there are so many more Windows machines available to compromise. And exploits are written for Unix since it's been around for so long, and there are many tempting targets for people to hit on the net.

Now, I guess with OSX, some of those Unix hackers will be able to do some damage to Mac users, but Macs running OS9 don't have many attackers.

I'm not saying there are no attackers skilled at exploiting an OS9 box, but the ratio of these people to Win/Unix/Linux hackers has got to be miniscule.

So, while I agree that a 100% secure machine is not possible, I do think you are far less likely to be compromised on a pre-OSX Mac.

Re:Security is a Myth. (2, Interesting)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734776)

True, nothing is totally secure, but MacOS <= 9.x was pretty secure. Simply because it had no services. For a long time, macs were relatively uncommon on the internet. No exposure, no risk. Even when they did come online, mac had no exploitable command shell. The closest thing would be AppleScript, and i never heard of any exploits for it. Part of it may be the fact that you have to construct and manipulate objects, not just hand some command line text off to a shell, part of it due to the fact that exploit code on PowerPCs is a lot harder to write than for x86 (or 68K for that matter).

For years, mac viruses numbered in the in the tens while viruses for Windows numbered in the thousands. It was just harder to write good mac viruses, the barrier to entry was higher. In fact, there were so few viruses, the only needed anti-virus code was developed and maintainmed by a single person (go stomping foot!!).

Now that MacOS has entered the 90s (protected memory, an actual VM, preemptive multitasking) by using a descendent of the 70s (UNIX) a wakeup call for some folks is needed. The chance for work exploits is there (the apache worm) but they'll be insulated somewhat by the fact people will target x86 first, and that Apple has been fairly good about security updates.

Re:Security is a Myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735343)

Flamebait! I call your moderation ability into question, good sir! So what if an improper homonym was used?

[In]Secure IIS server? (3, Funny)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734424)

and discovered dozens of entries from all over the globe probing my box to see if it was an insecure IIS server.

Maybe they were looking for a secure IIS server. Ripley's "Believe it or not" is starting production again, maybe they needed material?

The daily Nimda reminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734440)

one day when I was checking the logs on my Mac OS X box while developing a web app and discovered dozens of entries from all over the globe probing my box to see if it was an insecure IIS server

There is nothing like the daily reminder of the Nimda worm to get us all a little paranoid at first. But over time, I've just tuned it out. I now find myself using "cat access_log | grep -v winnt" all the time.

The only secure Apple system (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734443)

..is one thats encased in cement and at the bottom of a lake.

Re:The only secure Apple system (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734843)

OS Joke Cliche Alert:

WARNING: The preceeding post has violated the OS Joke Cliche rule. This "joke" has taken the form of a cheap shot towards a familiar OS without any supporting detail substantiating the claim (possibly ruining the "joke"). In fact, the lack of supporting data causes the "joke" to be increasingly unfunny.

This particular "joke" relied on the following unsubstantiated data:

(___) Linux/Windows/OSX users are better than other users
(_X_) Linux/Windows/OSX is better than other operating systems
(___) Windows crashes all the time
(___) Microsoft spelled "Micro$oft" or "M$"
(___) Microsoft is out to get you
(___) Linux users are a bunch of smelly hippies

Re:The only secure Apple system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734937)

Um...maybe that is why the United States Army moved their webserver from Windows to Mac OS. Your post was so not funny...

Re:The only secure Apple system (0)

antadam (531507) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735264)

Actually, the U.S. army when they moved their web server stuff to mac os, it was during the time of running classic, not os x and they chose to run it b/c it did not offer a command line so they felt it was more secure...you're gov't at work...stupid people should not be in charge.

Re:The only secure Apple system (2, Informative)

piggy (5857) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735859)

According to Netcraft [netcraft.com], the Army is currently using WebSTAR on OS X to serve www.army.mil. You are right that they did use Classic at one point, but they switched to Windows, and then switched back to Mac OS X.

Russell

oh pick me pick me pick me!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734455)


Teacher: "Ok student so what did you learn over the weekend"
Preschooler: "After my older brother finished downloading pr0n files and music off kazaa, he showed me how those evil men at SCO stole the soul!"

h4rh4rh4r @rwxr--r-- efneezee fo sheezee

OS X? Security? What an oxymoron. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734464)

Moderators on crack again (5core : 5, insightful) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734549)

If that was

Windows? Secuirty? What an oxymoron


then it would be 5, funny. AND IT WOULD! DON'T LIE. If you get metamods, please mod this post unfair!

Re:Moderators on crack again (5core : 5, insightfu (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734863)

relax... reread the header

OS X? Security? What an oxymoron (5core :5, funny) (Score:0)

He actually typed in the mod in the title. So no worries for the apple users, all is well, nobody that posts anything closely resembling Windows hype ever gets above a 3 here....

Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734511)


In today's news, Slashdotters vowed they would not "Take SCO's shit anymore" and decided to pull of some 'Fight Club' like anarchy acts on the offices of SCO. "Hey fuck that dude it's about open source. Maybe I could use this source to get a chick to open her source. I haven't been laid since I was on the wrestling team and my good buddy Chuck and I did the mutual masturbation thing." stated user Jeremy

We at here SBTS (Slashdot Behind The Scenes) have captured the frustrations of some and have sadly attempted to email this luser [slashdot.org] who sounded a bit suicidal with his " I'm so tired of this bullshit." comment. We wanted to let him know everything will be alllllllllll right there buddy.

Afterwards, Slashdot pulled off a first by posting an article about Slashdot, posting an article about SCO. After weeks of daily bombardments of SCO related articles Slashdot simply decided to post an article about them speaking about SCO.

"The problem is, we started running out of stories about SCO to post, I mean we did the SCO said foobar thing the other day, and we've bashed the company spokesperson before. Hell we've even ridiculed the parrot in the SCO offices. These stories are so yesterday, so what better way than to post something entirely new, hip, exciting, and very straight forward. Slashdot posting an article, about posting an article, about SCO. It's so retro and chick." stated Slashdot staff member Hemos

morons continue pummelling dead whores (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734537)

addeddumb to 'sco news from the cesspool/?pr? pottIE', AGAIN.

that's right, everIE time another lie is tolled, va lairIE/robbIE et AL, preseNT it as stuff that really matters, therefore, assisting the payper liesense walking dead in keeping their phonIE ?pr? ?firm? stock markup desperado greed/fear fest gooing along. yuk.

of course that's off topic, as the hobbyists (& many of you MACinists) are the total opposite of the phonIE payper liesense corepirate nazis.

you gnu/software folks are to be commended. we'd be nearly doomed by now without y'all. the check's in the mail again.

meanwhile... for those yet to see the light.

don't come crying to us when there's only won channel/os left.

nothing has changed since the last phonIE ?pr? ?firm? generated 'news' brIEf lots of the creator's innocents are being killed/mutilated daily, as manIE continue to 'pretend' it isn't happening. if anything the situations are continuing to deteriorate. you already know that.

the posterbouys for grand larcenIE/deception would include any & all of the walking dead who peddle phonIE stock markup payper to millions of hardworking conservative folks, & then after stealing/spending/disappearing the real dough, pretend that nothing ever happened. sound familiar robbIE? these fauxking corepirate nazi larcens, want us to pretend along with them, whilst they continue to squander yOUR "investmeNTs", on their soul DOWt craving for excess/ego gratification. yuk

no matter their ceaseless efforts to block the truth from you, the tasks (planet/population rescue) will be completed.

the lights are coming up now.

you can pretend all you want. our advise is to be as far away from the walking dead contingent as possible, when the big flash occurs. you wouldn't want to get any of that evile on you.

as to the free unlimited energy plan, as the lights come up, more&more folks will stop being misled into sucking up more&more of the infant killing barrolls of crudeness, & learn that it's more than ok to use newclear power generated by natural (hydro, solar, etc...) methods. of course more information about not wasting anything/behaving less frivolously is bound to show up, here&there.

cyphering how many babies it costs for a barroll of crudeness, we've decided to cut back, a lot, on wasteful things like giving monIE to felons, to help them destroy the planet/population.

no matter. the #1 task is planet/population rescue. the lights are coming up. we're in crisis mode. you can help.

the unlimited power (such as has never been seen before) is freely available to all, with the possible exception of the aforementioned walking dead.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator. more breathing. vote with yOUR wallet. seek others of non-aggressive intentions/behaviours. that's the spirit, moving you.

pay no heed/monIE to the greed/fear based walking dead.

each harmed innocent carries with it a bad toll. it will be repaid by you/us. the Godless felons will not be available to make reparations.

pay attention. that's definitely affordable, plus you might develop skills which could prevent you from being misled any further by phonIE ?pr? ?firm? generated misinformation.

good work so far. there's still much to be done. see you there. tell 'em robbIE.

Re:morons continue pummelling dead whores (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734923)

morons continue pummelling dead whores

Nah, I think we'll leave your mother out of it this time.

Review of the review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734546)

The Bad: It's a really really big book
The Good: It's got four parts!

Drop the fairly from "fairly verbose". That's a bit...wordy.

Just kidding, thanks for the review!

Re:Review of the review (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734804)

Really big, for a mac user... ;)
just kidding!

OS X: off to a pretty good start (5, Interesting)

gobbo (567674) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734562)

Just came through the ms.blaster anxiety pox without a drop of sweat, as we're using OS X and one win98 box [now I'm glad that IT was too incompetent to put win2K on it...]. It got me thinking about the last time I saw a mac virus, oh, about 11 years ago, and how easy it was to fix with freeware by John Norstad [northwestern.edu], and about the "Crack a Mac" contest [wired.com] in '97. Things were pretty secure on classic macs. Now, I still feel pretty secure, indicated by the way the gloating bubbled up when I warned compadres to lock down their XP boxes. I'm happy to see that built-in firewall loaded, when I occasionally reboot, and there's always snort if I get paranoid--plus all the other *nixy goodness.

When I received one box back from servicing today, a botched update completed itself upon booting, and a warning came up that a particular video driver file may be compromising the OS's security, did I want to fix and use, not use, or just use it? Nice. All I have to do is run software update. I want more of that caution built in, but as things stand, keep it up Cupertino.

Re:OS X: off to a pretty good start (2, Insightful)

EnVisiCrypt (178985) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734762)

Windows 98 is vulnerable to the overflow condition that Blaster exploits as well, not just 2K.

Re:OS X: off to a pretty good start (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735175)

>Just came through the ms.blaster anxiety pox >without a drop of sweat.

Yeah - me too. I PATCHED MY MACHINES, A MONTH AGO

Enough said.

Re:OS X: off to a pretty good start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735253)

"Yeah - me too. I PATCHED MY MACHINES, A MONTH AGO"

And a month from now you'll have to do another one, and then another one, and then another one, and oops you missed one and there goes a day's work, and then another month goes by and another one and another one.

Enough said.

Windows? Security? What an oxymoron! (5core : 5) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734573)

Re:Windows? Security? What an oxymoron! (5core : 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735358)

LMAO! Bravo!

A shame (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734638)

That backroom deals between Apple and Microsoft prevent them from ever bringing their OS out for the x86. They'd make a killing, it's about the only thing that could compete with Windows.

As for their hardware angle, if it's truly superior to off-the-shelf PC, it would still sell. But they wouldnt need it to, they'd be rolling in ridiculous wealth.

Of course, then slashdot would have to change it's slanted view of proprietary software, if MSFT was the underdog and Apple was on top. The world turned upside down for the frothing zealot, indeed.

Anyways, nice review, but redundant, I dont see why anyone should expect anything less than 100% security out of the box. After all, Mac OSX "just works", doesnt it?

Re:A shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734953)

have you been hanging out with SCO or do you make stuff up on your own? What is the basis of this fictitious deal?

Re:A shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734983)

Oh please, google for apple microsoft and non-compete. It's pretty obvious. Apple doesnt go after any of MSFTs pie, MSFT lets them keep their little fiefdom, and legitimizes it with ports of Office and the like.

You really think theres a MacOS port of Office because MSFT thinks that all the effort is worth it for 1% of the market? If so, why no linux/bsd ports?

Re:A shame (3, Insightful)

sammaffei (565627) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735038)

Actually the real reason Apple is not selling OS X on x86 (and Apple does in fact have this) is THEY SELL HARDWARE!!!

Why kill your hardware sales buy selling your OS on a cheaper platform?

OS X on x86 is a failsafe hardware manufacturing exit strategy. Nothing more.

Re:A shame (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735314)

OS X on x86 is a failsafe hardware manufacturing exit strategy. Nothing more.

That's right on. Plus, if you start supporting x86 hardware, then you have to start supporting the infinite hardware configurations... with their current model, they only have to write a small amount of driver code, and focus their efforts on that "it works" :D. Maybe they could pull it off, but working with controlled hardware is IMHO the way they can assert that "it works". I would need a shot of some strong drink to say that with a straight face when my OS is supposed to run on a PCChips all-integrated POS mobo, or a SIS graphics decelerator. :)

Question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734647)

Who cares what anyone at Slashdot thinks? Not me.

Use OS9 for secure server NOT OSX! Its 100% secure (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734660)

Forget this book. Use OS9 for a secure server NOT OSX! Its 100% secure according to the massive BugTraq (SecurityFocus) exploit database.

Thats why many universities, and military websites used mac OS9. OS9 has never had an exploit, while OSX has had at least over 35 or so documented exploits.

It is a concrete fact that that no MacOS based webserver has ever been hacked into in the history of the internet.

The MacOS running WebStar and other webservers as has never been exploited or defaced, and are are unbreakable based on ample historical evidence.

In fact in the entire SecurityFocus (BugTraq) database history there has never been a Mac (classic Mac OS) exploited over the internet remotely. Scan it yourself, though I believe an uncommon 3rd party mac product from 1995 or so had one exploit.

I am not talking about FreeBSD derived MacOS X (which already had a more than a 35 exploits and potential exploits in BugTraq) I am talking about current Mac OS 9.x and earlier which are highly sophisticated abstract-OS models.

Why is is hack proof? These reasons :

1> No command shell. No shell means no way to hook or intercept the flow of control with many various shell oriented tricks found in Unix or NT. Apple uses an object model for procces to process communication that is heavily typed and "pipe-less"

2> No Root user. All mac developers know their code is always running at root. Not hing is higher (except undocumented microkernel stufff where you pass Gary Davidians birthday into certain registers and make a special call). By always being root there is no false sense of security, and programming is done carefully.

3> Pascal strings. ANSI C Strings are the number one way people exploit Linux and Wintel boxes. The mac avoids C strings historically in most of all of its OS. In fact even its roms originally used Pascal strings. As you know pascal strings are faster than C (because they have the length delimiter in the front and do not have to endlessly hunt for NULL), but the side effect is less buffer exploits. Individual 3rd party products may use C stings and bind to ANSI libraries, but many do not. In case you are not aware of what a "pascal string" is, it usually has no null byte terminator.

4> Macs running Webstar have ability to only run CGI placed in correct directory location and correctly file "typed" (not mere file name extension). File types on Macs are not easily settable by users, expecially remotely. Apache as you know has had many problems in earlier years preventing wayward execution.

5> Macs never run code ever merely based on how a file is named. ".exe" suffixes mean nothing! For example the file type is 4 characters of user-invisible attributes, along with many other invisible attributes, but these 4 bytes cannot be set by most tool oriented utilities that work with data files. For example file copy utilities preserve launchable file-types, but JPEG MPEG HTML TXT etc oriented tools are physically incapable by designof creating an executable file. The file type is not set to executable for hte hackers needs. In fact its even more secure than that. A mac cannot run a program unless it has TWO files. The second file is an invisible file associated with the data fork file and is called a resource fork. EVERY mac program has a resource fork file containing launch information. It needs to be present. Typically JPEG, HTML, MPEG, TXT, ZIP, C, etc are merely data files and lack resource fork files, and even if the y had them they would lack launch information. but the best part is that mac web programs and server tools do not create files with resource forks usually. TOTAL security.

4> Stack return address positioned in s afer location than some intel OSes. Buffer exploits take advantage of loser programmers lack of string length checking and clobber the return address to run thier exploit code instead. The Mac compilers usually place return address in front or out of context of where the buffer would overrun. Much safer.

7> There are less macs, though there are huge cash prizes for cracking into a MacOS based WebStar server (typically over $10,000 US). Less macs means less hacker interest, but there are MILLIONS of macs sold, and some of the most skilled programmers are well versed in systems level mac engineering and know of the cash prizes, so its a moot point, but perhaps macs are never kracked because there appear to be less of them. (many macs pretend they are unix and give false headers to requests to keep up the illusion, ftp http, finger, etc). But some huge high performance sites use load-balancing webstar. Regardless, no mac has ever been rooted in history of the internet, except with a strange 3rd party tool i n 1995.

8> MacOS source not available traditionally, except within apple, similar to Microsoft source only available to its summer interns and engineers, source is rare to MacOS. This makes it hard to look for programming mistakes, but I feel the restricted source access is not the main reasons the MacOS has never been remotely broken into and exploited.

Sure a fool can install freeware and shareware server tools and unsecure 3rd party addon tools for e-commerce, but a mac (MacOS 9) running WebStar is the most secure web server possible and webstar offers many services as is.

One 3rd party tool created the only known exploit backdoor in mac history and that was back in 1995 and is not, nor was, a widely used tool. I do not even know its name. From 199 5 to 2002 not one macintosh web server on the internet has been broken into or defaced EVER. Other than that event ages ago in 1995, no mac web server has ever been rooted,defaced,owned,scanned,exploited, etc.

I think its quite amusing that there are over 200 or 300 known vulnerabilities in RedHat over the years and not one MacOS 9.x or older remote exploit hack. There are even vulnerabilities a month ago in OpenBSD! Each month vulnerabilities in XP arise.

Not one exploit. And that includes Webstar and other web servers on the Mac.

A rare set of documentation tutorials and exercises on rewriting all buffer LINUX exploits from INTEL to PowerPC was published less than a year ago. The priceless hacker tutorials were by a linux fanatic : Christopher A Shep herd, 3036 Foxhill Circle #102, Apopka, FL 32703 and he wrote the tutorials in a context against BSD-Mach Mac OSX. but all of his unix methods will find little to exploit on a traditional MacOS server.

For years, except, for the last month, the army has always used MacOS on its primary website and has never had a breakin on a Mac. Unlike their MANY other MS defacements at the us army.

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=www.arm y. mil

That is why the US Army gave up on MS IIS and got a Mac for a web server years ago.

BTW this is NOT an add for webstar.. the recent vers ions of webstar sold for over the last year are insecure and cannot run on Mac OS 9.x or 8.x, and only run on the repeatedly exploited MacOS X. I predict that MacOS X will have far more than the 65 known weaknesses for exploits over the next year.

--- too bad the linux community is so stubborn that they refuse to understand that the Mac has always been the most secure OS for servers.

BugTraq concurs! As does the WWW consortium. So you do not need a book to teach you how to pathetically try to secure a website, just use a Mac, as many colleges and large media sites do, and many commercial airlines for their in-house security.

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=www.arm y. mil ...is just one of many large SECURE classic MacOS distributed servers.

Re:Use OS9 for secure server NOT OSX! Its 100% sec (2, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735522)

2> No Root user. All mac developers know their code is always running at root. Not hing is higher (except undocumented microkernel stufff where you pass Gary Davidians birthday into certain registers and make a special call). By always being root there is no false sense of security, and programming is done carefully.

And all 98 developers know their code runs as root. Has that helped?

why? (1)

Iowaguy (621828) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735651)

Ok, I'll ask it. I am not an IT guy. I have no idea why the above post is flaimbait? Is it untrue, it seems to check out with my memory of events. Is it because any non-nix is not allowed to have a good feature on slashdot? Just curious.

-Iowa

Market share (-1, Offtopic)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734686)

The main thing that keeps Mac OSX secure is a market share in the single digits. Certainly OSX is more secure than windows by default, but the biggest advantage of OSX is that its not a juicy target.

Re: Mac 6.6 times more common than linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735009)

http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/os.php

Mac 6.6 times more common than linux measured by millions of browsers. (no one spoofs os, though some spoof browser brand).

1. Win 98 15416286 (40%)
2. Win 2000 11518338 (30%)
3. Win XP 7329054 (19%)
4. Win NT 1140924 (2%)
5. Mac 881868 (2%)
6. Win 95 844872 (2%)
7. Unknown 565197 (1%)
8. Win 3.x 188799 (0%)
9. Linux 132828 (0%)
10. WebTV 58173 (0%)
11. Unix 23838 (0%)
12. Win ME 10638 (0%)
13. OS/2 2118 (0%)
14. Amiga 648 (0%)

mac has been 7 times more popular than linux every years since 1995.

google knows this, as does www.thecounter.com

and now, so do you!

The us military uses mac os for webservers because Macintosh OS 9.x and earlier has never had a sinlge know exploit, while linux has had over 400 discovered exploits. Also the military websites were rooted no less than 3 times when running other non-apple osses.

news flash (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735226)

Linux is the fastest growing SERVER os, so web browser statistics are useless and especially dependent on the counter code, which is usually flawed. My website counter misreads mozilla and linux.

while linux has had over 400 discovered exploits.

The Linux kernel or software running on Linux? In case you didn't know there is a big difference. I love how every apache, wuftpd, bind, etc... vulnerability gets categorized as a "Linux exploit.." This reply is simply pure fud..

Re:Market share (1)

90XDoubleSide (522791) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735890)

That's true, bou can't downplay how much it matters to have all services off by default. Half of the Microsoft disasters could have been averted that way (obviously they would still affect the fraction of users who needed the service, but there would be no 'net-wide catastrophe), and Mac OS X now has a big enough market share that it couldn't get by just by being small. Plenty of worms have been very successful focusing on programs that have relatively few copies installed, but they have only been able to do so when they were services on by default in at least, say, a few respectably popular Linux distros. The area where market share does make a difference is in the fact that Mac OS X is not Windows, not Linux, and not x86, which is enough to baffle 90% of script kiddies. While most people realize the security advantage of being on non-x86 hardware, running on something other than Windows or Linux is also a very good deterrent: if you look at SANS's intruder rating scale, running BSD or OS X would put an attacker at 4/5 or 5/5 in the OS category.

OS X? Security? What an oxymoron (5core :5, funny) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734705)

FYI (4, Informative)

Srsen (413456) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734736)

Apple has a Security Technology Brief which is a somewhat simplified but comprehensive overview of the hardware and software security features of Macs and Mac OS X.

http://a368.g.akamai.net/7/368/51/edcf434107944a /w ww.apple.com/macosx/pdfs/Security_TB.pdf

No information please, we use Linux (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734838)

The Bad

The information provided in all areas of the book is quite detailed, and includes many links to further places to look for more (and more recent) information

Yes, that is quite bad. How dare they provide information in a book. They should have buried it all in a HOWTO with the wrong name on an obscure website.

Cheaper at Amazon.com (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734888)

It's cheaper at Amazon.com [amazon.com] and there's free shipping, too. Posting AC to avoid karma whoring.

Re:Cheaper at Amazon.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735259)

and have a warm fuzzy feeling supporting BS patents!

Redundancy (3, Funny)

happyfunstuff (259214) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734891)

and discovered dozens of entries from all over the globe probing my box to see if it was an insecure IIS server

Re:Redundancy (1)

error502 (694533) | more than 10 years ago | (#6734918)

Talk about redundancy. I always thought IIS stood for Insecure Internet Services.

Re:Redundancy (1)

UtSupra (16971) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735100)

But Micro$oft loves doing that... Look at Windows 2000. It is based on "NT Technology" or "New Technology Technology"

The book is not that useful... for security (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734933)

The book is not that useful... for secure servers on mac hardware all people know that webstar on OS9.22 and earlier has been unhackable since the earliest days of the internet until now.

OS X is regretfully merely FreeBSD and other stuff, (Mach, Darwin) and is ustterly exploit ridden.

This is a fact and apple has had to release countless security updates to patch these exploits, but never had an os8 or os9 or os7 exploit ever.

I think the book is a waste. Even if you read it, you will get exploited as quickly as GNU was rooted months ago... they said they were not 'fast enough" Ha! Fast enough! yup... as soon as yet another FreeBsd exploit comes out anyone might be able root an osx if they knew how and the service was running (Apache, etc).

Virii? Bring 'em on! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734974)

I recall, late-98 or so, when a fairly adequate Mac virus actually surfaced. We were thrilled! What more proof did you need that Apple was back, than a virus attempting to take it down?

Meanwhile, the rest of you can stop with this "juicy target" stuff. There is, have never been, ANY OS more susceptible to virii than Win.

Back in the 8.5-9.x days, I used to spread my IP address all over Usenet, in hopes someone would bring down my computer, so I could learn something from the genius.

Now, I won't quite do THAT, but have little worries about putting an OS X box behind a Linkys router (helps deflect almost everything by itself).

If only my nights were not so clogged fixing all the neighbors' pathetic 98/2000 and XP boxes. I can't drink anywhere NEAR the volume of free beer I accumulate!

Answer me this.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6734976)

.. Why is it that every time I load the Slashdot main page I get the advert showing that fat bitch Judy Branch and how much she saved at eBay?

Did she take her savings and buy food with it or what?

She needs to invest in a liposuction machine or maybe some Weightwatchers programs.

Not flame : Mac OS9 100% secure not OSX (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735082)

This valuable post in a larger form was recently downrated a flame by a linux zealot so I repost it here in verycondensed form with nothing but DATA and Informative post info. There is no reason to moderate down informative posts. To not be termed a "flame" I request that no one reply to my post. therefore it is not a troll by the DEFINITION of "troll".

It is a concrete fact that that no MacOS based webserver has ever been hacked into in the history of the internet.

The MacOS running WebStar and other webservers as has never been exploited or defaced, and are are unbreakable based on ample historical evidence.

In fact in the entire SecurityFocus (BugTraq) database history there has never been a Mac (classic Mac OS) exploited over the internet remotely. Scan it yourself, though I believe an uncommon 3rd party mac product from 1995 or so had one exploit.

I am not talking about FreeBSD derived MacOS X (which already had a more than a 35 exploits and potential exploits in BugTraq) I am talking about current Mac OS 9.x and earlier which are highly sophisticated abstract-OS models.

Why is is hack proof? These reasons :

1> No command shell. No shell means no way to hook or intercept the flow of control with many various shell oriented tricks found in Unix or NT. Apple uses an object model for procces to process communication that is heavily typed and "pipe-less"

2> No Root user. All mac developers know their code is always running at root. Not hing is higher (except undocumented microkernel stufff where you pass Gary Davidians birthday into certain registers and make a special call). By always being root there is no false sense of security, and programming is done carefully.

3> Pascal strings. ANSI C Strings are the number one way people exploit Linux and Wintel boxes. The mac avoids C strings historically in most of all of its OS. In fact even its roms originally used Pascal strings. As you know pascal strings are faster than C (because they have the length delimiter in the front and do not have to endlessly hunt for NULL), but the side effect is less buffer exploits. Individual 3rd party products may use C stings and bind to ANSI libraries, but many do not. In case you are not aware of what a "pascal string" is, it usually has no null byte terminator.

4> Macs running Webstar have ability to only run CGI placed in correct directory location and correctly file "typed" (not mere file name extension). File types on Macs are not easily settable by users, expecially remotely. Apache as you know has had many problems in earlier years preventing wayward execution.

5> Macs never run code ever merely based on how a file is named. ".exe" suffixes mean nothing! For example the file type is 4 characters of user-invisible attributes, along with many other invisible attributes, but these 4 bytes cannot be set by most tool oriented utilities that work with data files. For example file copy utilities preserve launchable file-types, but JPEG MPEG HTML TXT etc oriented tools are physically incapable by designof creating an executable file. The file type is not set to executable for hte hackers needs. In fact its even more secure than that. A mac cannot run a program unless it has TWO files. The second file is an invisible file associated with the data fork file and is called a resource fork. EVERY mac program has a resource fork file containing launch information. It needs to be present. Typically JPEG, HTML, MPEG, TXT, ZIP, C, etc are merely data files and lack resource fork files, and even if the y had them they would lack launch information. but the best part is that mac web programs and server tools do not create files with resource forks usually. TOTAL security.

4> Stack return address positioned in s afer location than some intel OSes. Buffer exploits take advantage of loser programmers lack of string length checking and clobber the return address to run thier exploit code instead. The Mac compilers usually place return address in front or out of context of where the buffer would overrun. Much safer.

7> There are less macs, though there are huge cash prizes for cracking into a MacOS based WebStar server (typically over $10,000 US). Less macs means less hacker interest, but there are MILLIONS of macs sold, and some of the most skilled programmers are well versed in systems level mac engineering and know of the cash prizes, so its a moot point, but perhaps macs are never kracked because there appear to be less of them. (many macs pretend they are unix and give false headers to requests to keep up the illusion, ftp http, finger, etc). But some huge high performance sites use load-balancing webstar. Regardless, no mac has ever been rooted in history of the internet, except with a strange 3rd party tool i n 1995.

8> MacOS source not available traditionally, except within apple, similar to Microsoft source only available to its summer interns and engineers, source is rare to MacOS. This makes it hard to look for programming mistakes, but I feel the restricted source access is not the main reasons the MacOS has never been remotely broken into and exploited.

Sure a fool can install freeware and shareware server tools and unsecure 3rd party addon tools for e-commerce, but a mac (MacOS 9) running WebStar is the most secure web server possible and webstar offers many services as is.

One 3rd party tool created the only known exploit backdoor in mac history and that was back in 1995 and is not, nor was, a widely used tool. I do not even know its name. From 199 5 to 2002 not one macintosh web server on the internet has been broken into or defaced EVER. Other than that event ages ago in 1995, no mac web server has ever been rooted,defaced,owned,scanned,exploited, etc.

Nice review . . . (3, Informative)

code shady (637051) | more than 10 years ago | (#6735196)

I've been thinking of picking up this book, specifically because it is geared towards Mac OS X, although i am not overall very fond of the maximum security series.

Anyone else looking for some good OS X secuity books shoudl chech out the latest edition of Practical Unix and Internet Security published by O'Reilly. I have the second edition, and its a great book, and the third edition specifically mentions OS X and solaris, in addition to the standard *BSD unix and Linux information.

mac help (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6735881)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you Mac fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a Mac (a 8600/300 w/64 Megs of RAM) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. 20 minutes. At home, on my Pentium Pro 200 running NT 4, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this Mac, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this file transfer, Netscape will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even BBEdit Lite is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various Macs, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a Mac that has run faster than its Wintel counterpart, despite the Macs' faster chip architecture. My 486/66 with 8 megs of ram runs faster than this 300 mhz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the Macintosh is a superior machine.

Mac addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a Mac over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

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