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Symantec: Mac OS X Becoming a Malware Target

timothy posted about 9 years ago | from the how-could-it-be-otherwise? dept.

Security 779

tb3 writes "According to ZDNet 'Security vendor Symantec is warning that Apple's OS X operating system is increasingly becoming a target for hackers and malware authors.' They go on to warn that the only thing that's protected Apple users from exploits so far has been the small number of Macs on the net. Now that people are buying Apple products for 'style over function,' according to one analyst, Apple computer has become a target for new attacks. More coverage on Australian IT and Silicon.com. I guess sales of Norton Anti-Virus for Mac needed a boost." Symantec may well be right about this, but note that they also have the world's biggest vested interest in making Mac owners nervous enough to buy their anti-virus products.

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Style over function? (5, Insightful)

sgant (178166) | about 9 years ago | (#12006630)

Why does it have to be one or the other? From what I've found in OSX is that it can have style AND function.

Is that so wrong?

Infidel! (4, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | about 9 years ago | (#12006675)

Is that so wrong?

Yes. Now, back to the bash prompt with you, heathen, and may the glistening tentacles of Aqua and Luna never intrude upon your conscience again!

(I kid, I kid. Luna doesn't glisten.)

Re:Infidel! (2, Interesting)

jericho4.0 (565125) | about 9 years ago | (#12006810)

I don't own a Mac, but I do notice that;

The default shell is Bash

The terminal app's fonts and antialiasing is really nice.

Re:Style over function? (1, Flamebait)

zecg (521666) | about 9 years ago | (#12006740)

It's a meme, which I think originated from the fact that Mac hardware used to be more expensive and thus bought by rich people for its stylishness. With Mac Mini and the advent of cheap Mac, I predict this meme is about to die.

Re:Style over function? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006757)

I think the quality of ./ posts has dropped since the number of mac users increased.

There also seem to be more spelling trolls about, it all seems like to much of a coincidence. Are they all wanabe journalists?

Re:Style over function? (4, Insightful)

gitana (756955) | about 9 years ago | (#12006756)

Of course not.

The OS X platform is built on solid unix programing. The eye candy is just the sparkly coating. Properly implemented OS X can be quite secure. Although, you might be able to say the same thing about any modern os(yes even windows.)

Yes it is... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006776)

It will upset the frothing Linux zealots who keep insisting you cant have both - thats their excuse for liking a GUI (doesnt matter which - Gnome / KDE - take your pick) that is less intuitive to use than even Win95

Re:Style over function? (3, Insightful)

Too Much Noise (755847) | about 9 years ago | (#12006866)

Why does it have to be one or the other?

It does not have to, but inevitably it will for some people.

The by-product is that people are buying these products for form over function. They say it looks pretty and then buy it but don't secure it.

Familiar, eh? it's the typical user buying a machine from Fry's, CompUSA and, now, Apple stores. Meaning Apple is also netting clueless users with its 'switch' campaign. Simply because they were largely confined to Windows so far won't magically change their ways as they move to Macs.

Next, more of this type of users can mean more unsecured machines, hence a more attractive target for hackers. Once hackers move in (and they will, what with macs becoming cheaper and all) security of OSX will really begin to get tested.

Makes a change from Linux or Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006631)

or at least it will make a change from the massive amounts of mailings on bugtraq about the latest exploit in Win/nix

Spread fear to increase sales. (-1, Troll)

JackAxe (689361) | about 9 years ago | (#12006636)

They must be taking pointers from the Bush administration.

Now why does the Mac need virsu protection? Oh, to clean our e-mail of PC viruses, so that our PC friends can be safe.

Re:Spread fear to increase sales. (1)

croddy (659025) | about 9 years ago | (#12006655)

you mean windows viruses.

Re:Spread fear to increase sales. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006707)

Both, actually-different processor architectures for the greater part do prevent a virus written for an operating system using one type from working on the same designation of model operating system built for a different architecture.

bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006646)

Wake me up when using XFactor starts being a problem.

style over function (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006649)


Even so... what's the matter? Style's still pretty good, even if the box is full of viruses...

Re:style over function (1)

HeliumHigh (773838) | about 9 years ago | (#12006708)

Ya, who cares about security? Besides, that offer to buy v1agr@ has such a pretty border, don't you think?

Mac User (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006650)

Look at me, I am Mr. Mac User I don't think viruses exist, and koala bears don't kill people.

Re:Mac User (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006665)

Um, I'm pretty sure koala bears don't kill people.

Re:Mac User (1)

Pfhorrest (545131) | about 9 years ago | (#12006715)

Random Google for "Koalas Kill People" returned this:

http://www.koalabearsarebears.freewebspace.com/e lo sitodiablo.html

Vampire Koalas, Tribble Peeps, and the Four Cupcakes of the Apocalypse.

I think my fever must be getting worse...

As an IT person who is deploying OS X (4, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | about 9 years ago | (#12006654)

Can someone out there tell me what the reality of the situation is? Do you really need anti-virus for OS X? In the research I've done I can't seem to find any references to real (as in active in the wild) OS X viruses.
We will be transitioning about 8 production Macs to OS X later this year, and I am wondering whether I need to concerned at this point. It doesn't seem like I do.
I also understand the possibility of exploits in some of the open source code used in OS X. I assume you deal with this the same as on any other OSes and patch it when the fix comes out.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (2, Interesting)

JackAxe (689361) | about 9 years ago | (#12006716)

No. It is only for removing "PC viruses."

If Apple does its part, which it has, any critical holes found are patched with in a week. This is the benifiet of using a system that has a very tight software to hardware integration. I've read on Maccentral that some companies are now using OSX machines as the front for their PC networks, since it creates a truly secure front lilne.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (4, Insightful)

mekkab (133181) | about 9 years ago | (#12006719)

You can "rootkit" BSD boxes. Though from here [kernelthread.com] its a bit more than just BSD... sort of a mix.

Poorly administered servers can get trashed. If your root password is "r00t", it won't take long for someone to figure it out.

You need to be concerened only insofar as you need to have a network admin (or something to that affect). How do you know when your network is being attacked? How do you know what attacks are being tried? If you aren't analyzing your network thats the worst mistake anyone can make.

That being said, there is this virus, its called "rm -rf *", its really bad.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (5, Informative)

SmoothriderSean (657482) | about 9 years ago | (#12006731)

In my experience (as support staff for the Humanities Div of a university), far and away the most common virus issue with Macs is that they can be a carrier for Word macro viruses. Beyond that, you just have to keep an eye on users turning on services without knowing what they're doing (or using decent passwords). On the one hand, it's better to be safe than sorry, and just install an anti-virus package, but frankly, the need has been so slight that mac AV packages tend to be a mess.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (5, Informative)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | about 9 years ago | (#12006750)

I admin a sound studio with 10 macs and two windows machines. Nine run X.3 and one runs 9.2.2. The two windows machines run GigaStudio and are never, and will never be connected to the internet. I run antivirus software on the macs connected to the internet, and nothing has ever come up in a scan. Ever. I have run every single single version of X since 10.2.1 and they all stayed clean.

As for patching, I patch manually, because of quirks in all the audio software we run, but OS X will patch automatically if you set it up to. you will be manually installing patches for any apps not distributed by apple, but all of Apple's stuff will update automatically.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006799)

Dude. Build your network right. Have sensible web use policies, clear and realistic security standards. 99.9% of your problems are solved right there.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (2, Informative)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | about 9 years ago | (#12006824)

I have been running my home computer on OS X hooked up to broadband for a fair while. So it's always on and always there to get infected. Thing is, it hasn't been. Its protection consists of the default firewall that comes with OS X. I turned NAT on in my DSL modem but that was just so I could hook up my mother-in-law's Windows computer when she was visiting.

The only virus definitions I have ever seen in Symantec products for Mac OS X are Word macro viruses and the like. That would suggest that there are no viruses in the wild that can cause any damage that Symantec will protect you against. There have been a few proof of concept stories going around which are usually fixed by Apple at the next security update. Sometimes they relate to open source software (I think Apache had one a while ago) and some relate to Apple software. As far as I know they have all been patched. And, as I said, I'm still not infected.

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (2, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 years ago | (#12006842)

You definitely need anti-virus software on the Macintosh. That way you can download stuff on a Macintosh that you want to use on a PC; you do the virus check on the Macintosh without the slightest chance of catching anything. Then pass the checked stuff on to the PC. On a PC, there is always the risk that some virus is more clever than the antivirus software and you catch something. Seriously, the viruses that Symantec has found are so absolutely lame that you have to be completely braindamaged to catch anything. Like download the virus, then enter your admin password to allow it to infect your machine. At the moment there is nothing on MacOS X that would require a virus checker.

You don't need anything - yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006848)

The answer is, of course, NO. At this point having virus protection for a Mac OS X box is worthless. In fact, worse than worthless because the virus software itself can, and will, cause problems, need updates, etc.

At some point this will change, and then you'll need to get something. If we're lucky, the few malware releases the Mac will get each year will be targeted by freeware or shareware products to fix them. There's no way to tell until it begins to happen...

Re:As an IT person who is deploying OS X (5, Informative)

jericho4.0 (565125) | about 9 years ago | (#12006868)

The reality is, this article is FUD.

Update reguarly/automaticly, and keep an eye on an OS X site or two to stay abreast of things, and you'll be fine.

Sounds to me like Symantec's trying to push their (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006657)

Mac products out the door again. I guess with Apple projected to take 5% of the market share they decided maybe it would a good idea if they actually started pushing Mac products.

Security through obscurity? (4, Interesting)

LukaFox (765323) | about 9 years ago | (#12006658)

Is it really true that the only thing protecting Macs thus far has been their smaller by comparison presence on the Internet? Is there nothing to be said for the inherent security or insecurity of a particular platform? This is the kind of argument that free operating systems get against their security all the time. It'll be interesting to see whether the Mac platform can stand up to increased attacks. If it does, this might help convince people that some platforms really are more secure than others.

Re:Security through obscurity? (1)

bmw (115903) | about 9 years ago | (#12006837)

I myself certainly believe that some systems are more secure than others by design as well as by the default settings they choose. However, let's not forget that the human factor is almost always the weakest link with regards to security. In cases where a particular system is especially geared towards those users that are not technologically savvy you are always going to have a lot problems with security. There really is no way to avoid this aside from a massive campaign to educate users. Unfortunately it is my belief that the vast majority of people are rather lazy-brained and most just don't care about computers or security. Alas, I think this is something we're always going to be stuck with.

yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006659)

only on IE for Mac. That makes up all of 1%

Call me anal.. (3, Informative)

Paska (801395) | about 9 years ago | (#12006663)

..but I already use an Antivirus for my Mac. Mind you I switched over from Windows a little under 1 year ago and since I use these machines for work I really didn't want to risk, even if it's 0.0001% of getting my work machine infected by a virus. All it could take is one sneaky website I visit to infect me, record information and I honestly wouldn't really know - mind you I doubt the Antivirus updaters would know about any Mac virus within 1 week of being lanched.

And no, I use McAfee [mcafeehttp]. And it's not too bad, but then again I am biased as we bundle McAfee with systems.

Re:Call me anal.. (3, Funny)

Hungus (585181) | about 9 years ago | (#12006861)

Hey, I have a product I have developed that stops all known chartreuse buzzards from stealing your cheese if you send me 50 bucks I will letr you use it. (I mean since you are using a product that detects all known viruses on OS X you must be interested in using my product too right?)

Portability (5, Funny)

khromatikos (839805) | about 9 years ago | (#12006664)

That's great!

Once they have it for OSX it must be fairly easy to port it to FreeBSD. I guess they might have to add a new category in the ports: /usr/ports/malware

Safari runs like crap (1, Interesting)

iowannaski (766150) | about 9 years ago | (#12006667)

Safari has run like crap on my wife's iBook since about a week after she got (CHristmas). It runs like a spyware infected Windows machine, and here desktop is constantly littered with popunders.

Of course, figuring out how to fix it is no fun, because macs "just work" and suggesting otherwise makes one a troll.

I suspect the problems stem from installing Konfabulator and a bunch of widgets (one of which would cause the coputer to hang whenever it was started), but I haven't had the time or motivation to figure it out. I don't shit about administering Mac OS X - I only bought it because I was sick of playing sysadmin for every windows box in my extended family.

Re:Safari runs like crap (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006775)

Look at drivers you have installed. Lexmark in particular is notorious for releasing crap that will not only put itself into startup without asking, but consistantly use 20% cpu whether you're printing or not.

Also, check dns for whatever that konfabulator widget is accessing... if your server is slow, add it to hosts... if it's just the target that is slow.. try changing targets... just a guess...

Re:Safari runs like crap (3, Informative)

chromaphobic (764362) | about 9 years ago | (#12006817)

First off, check and make sure popup blocking is enabled. I only see MAYBE one popunder a week, if that (and add the offending site to my mental blacklist, never to be visited again.) Go to the Safari menu and make sure there's a check next to the "Block Pop-Up Windows" item.

Secondly, yes, Konfabulator can really bog down a system if you have too many widgets running. They eat up memory and CPU power, even sitting idle. I have seven I keep open with little peformance imapct, but that's on a Dual 2Ghz G5. If you haven't discovered it yet, Activity Monitor (in Applications/Utilities/) can be very useful in tracking down where your CPU cycles and memory are going. It even lists all the Konfab widgets seperately, though it doesn't tell you which one is which. So if there's a widget that's being a hog, it'll let you know!

I'd bet that it's a low memory issue, Apple has a tendency to shortchange the memory in their systems, especially consumer level stuff like the iBook & iMac. Running OS X on less that 512MB will bring things to a snail's pace frequently, so a simple memory upgrade might help greatly.

Re:Safari runs like crap (1)

podperson (592944) | about 9 years ago | (#12006827)

Konfabulator is quite possibly the culprit, it is a spectacularly resource hungry program.

You could also try downloading FireFox or Opera and see if they have similar problems.

Or just launch a command line and run top and look for something using up a suspicious amount of cpu.

Re:Safari runs like crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006844)

I suspect the problems stem from installing Konfabulator

Suspect? This is the only explanation based on your post. Safari runs great (so say I as I post from it on a 1999 Mac running 10.3). Your wife should also check the "Block Pop-Up Windows" option if she hasn't already.

We all knew (1)

gitana (756955) | about 9 years ago | (#12006669)

This is to be expected ... almost inevitable ...the best we can hope is that security holes will be patched in a prompt manner ... as users will continue to practice flawed security ..(firewall off etc.) What else can a mac user do?

Re:We all knew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006712)

A Mac user can educate himself about security.

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006671)

Two stories about gay OSes in a row.

money for symantec from mac users (2, Funny)

tofucubes (869110) | about 9 years ago | (#12006672)

gee wonder why Symantec, an antivirus and firewall maker, would say such a thing...

long time listener... first time caller (5, Informative)

wahsapa (767922) | about 9 years ago | (#12006674)

I have been using Mac's for 8+ years now, I even orderd my Cube on a Dreamcast, and have never had a virus or malware... so you can put me in the "believe it when i see it" catagory.

Nothing to see here (1)

gdbjr (751194) | about 9 years ago | (#12006676)

please move along.

I didn't see anything in the article that = news. OS X has always been vulnerable, since no OS is safe. Accept that one that is never turned on and used.

Actually... (1)

machinegunhand (867735) | about 9 years ago | (#12006754)

...turning it on is fine. Attempting to use it is what gets people in trouble, especially while connected to an untrustworthy network.

Re:Nothing to see here (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006779)

Accept that one that is never turned on and used.

I will gladly accept that one that is never turned on and used. Please ship to....

The only reason Windows is exploitable... (5, Insightful)

hereschenes (813329) | about 9 years ago | (#12006679)

From the article:

"The only reason Windows has had mass exploits written for it is the sheer number of connected devices that are present on most networks."

It's a reason for sure, but the only reason? I think not!

Because it's FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED!!! (1)

JackAxe (689361) | about 9 years ago | (#12006798)

If MS had focused on security and not features, XP's kernal wouldn't be accessible by spyware, but we all know that's not the case. And to give MS a little bit of credit, it has to deal with thousands of more configuations when creating an update. Apple does not, hence they fix their holes right away, that and the OS was designed with security in mind. Some PC networks are now turning to OSX XServes as a preventive measure against attacks on the net and it's working.

bring it on. i think. (2, Interesting)

trainwrek (567874) | about 9 years ago | (#12006681)

"style over function" Yeah, like the "style" of increased security. In some sick way I hope that OSX becomes a target so we can finally know the answer to whether OS X has limited security issues due to its user base or design.

And the I-told-you-so's are redeemed! (2, Insightful)

SmoothriderSean (657482) | about 9 years ago | (#12006683)

Bad or non-existant passwords, crappy anti-virus software (Virex, I'm looking in your direction!), and a long-unchallenged (calm down, I mean by experience) belief that Macs would continue to be unaffected by this sort of thing always seemed like they'd rear their ugly heads one of these days. But on the other hand, why trust the exterminator when he says it's bound to be a big bug season?

Good business model. (2, Insightful)

MuckSavage (658302) | about 9 years ago | (#12006686)

So their only "real" proof that hackers are targeting OS X is a rootkit? Wow. The Symantic FUD, aka "we need to sell more versions of NAV for the mac" has been shifted up a gear.

How useful (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006692)

Symantec Anti-Virus OSX Version 1.0:

Please upgrade to signature file 032105.sgn, your current version only detects 3 viruses, however the new signature file finds and cleans 5 different viruses.

Just like Linux? (2, Informative)

tquinlan (868483) | about 9 years ago | (#12006694)

If I'm not mistaken, doesn't OS X log you in as a non-root user? And if that's the case, isn't the regular user (as in Linux and other Unixen) unlikely to do major damage to the system?

Re:Just like Linux? (1)

CausticPuppy (82139) | about 9 years ago | (#12006752)

If I'm not mistaken, doesn't OS X log you in as a non-root user?

This is true... and in fact, the root user is disabled by default. First you have to go out of your way to enable root, and then maybe run as root all the time, and then maybe start executing email attachments as you get them...

Users are not root; data more important (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006770)

That is correct, but you have to admit that the data a user has (work, music, etc.) is likely to be far more important than the OS. I can reinstall my OS X and apps and recompile my OSS software in a day, but if I loose my source files, I'm in a world of hurt.

Re:Just like Linux? (2, Informative)

johnbeat (685167) | about 9 years ago | (#12006840)

Yes and no. The default user is an "administrative" user. They must type their username and password to gain root access. However, there have been some exploits that allow someone gaining control of an administrative user account to parley that into root access. Some of this has to do with what parts of the file system the administrative user has write access to.

For example, up until at least 10.2, the admin user could write files to /Library/StartupItems/; if they get the startup format correct, then on reboot those files would be run as root.

I always recommend that people set up a non-admin user as their normal account. But of course, few people are going to go to the trouble of going beyond the default settings.

That said, even if security on that front were perfect, all it would do is keep malware from gaining root access. For the average user, malware that only has write access to their own files is going to be just as catastrophic.

The system does now warn you if this is the first time you've run an app.


Re:Just like Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006847)

Sure, but being logged in as a non-root user gives you that much more chance to gain root through local exploits. Also, just because your system isn't harmed doesn't mean your system is safe from harming other systems.. With a broadband connection, a box could still be used as a zombie for DDoS attacks.

Vested Interest up the Wazoo (3, Informative)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | about 9 years ago | (#12006699)

Yes, Symantec have a vested interest up the wazoo for that press release. The interesting thing is, the only virus definitions I have ever seen in their Mac OS X updates are MS Word macro viruses and the like. If there really was a threat it doesn't look like Symantec will be providing the protection.

Maybe Symantec is trying to draw attention to generate more business for themselves because there certainly haven't been any viruses released yet on OS X that Symantec provides any real protection for - so I wonder, what information could they be basing their statement on? Secret contacts with the hacker community? Certainly nothing public...

The protection will come from such sexily named files as Security Update 2005-002 and Security Update 2005-003 distributed courtesy of Apple Inc.

fixed typos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006701)

..he goes on to warn that the only thing that's protected Apple users from Symantec so far has been the small number of Macs on the net. Now that people are buying Apple products for 'style over function,' according to one analyst, Apple computer has become a viable market for Symantecs' shareholders...

My advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006704)

Backup your stuff and forget the N bomb. Running Norton just slows everything down.

Hate to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006709)

But of course a company which sells software to people who want to protect their computers from viruses/spyware is going to say there's a problem. It is in their interest. And they aren't a disinterested party. (Shame on them.)

My anecdotal experience (being a tech at a major U.S. University) is that Macs never have virus/spyware problems and properly patched Windows machines (meaning commercial anti-virus/spyware software installed) do occasionally have problems. Intelligent users can almost always overcome the problems on Windows. But on Macs the problems simply do not come up.

I have seen nothing to indicate this will change for Macs. Unless Microsoft starts funding some black ops.

Security through obscurity is not permanent. (2, Insightful)

Faust7 (314817) | about 9 years ago | (#12006717)

In its seventh bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec said over the past year, security researchers had discovered at least 37 serious vulnerabilities in the Mac OS X system.

Don't let this line fool you - it doesn't necessarily mean that OS X is inherently more secure than Windows, or Linux, or whatever. It can safely be said that the amount of resources being expended to identify and cure OS X vulnerabilities is at least somewhat smaller than those used for Windows, in rough proportion to OS X's much smaller market share. The lesser amount of pure research, plus the lesser amount of wild exposure, mean that there will be plenty security-wise in OS X that's missed. The truth won't really be known until OS X gains enough visibility to have as much as, or at least a fair chunk of, what Windows has thrown at it on a daily basis.

Obscurity isn't a permanent solution by any means, and here is the proof.

Re:Security through obscurity is not permanent. (1)

sabat (23293) | about 9 years ago | (#12006762)

Security through obscurity is not permanent.

You're right, of course. But MacOS X is not secure because it's obscure; it's secure because it was designed that way.

That isn't to say that there haven't been problems, or that there won't be in the future. But keep to the facts and look at the numbers, and you'll see a marked difference between a mac and a pc. Time will tell, ultimately.

It is though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006809)

But MacOS X is not secure because it's obscure; it's secure because it was designed that way.

But it is obscure. It runs on a platform that has, for now, about 3% of the market. It's obscure in the sense that virus/spyware/malware authors don't usually think about targeting it - or, if they do, they consider it only briefly and then toss the idea out the window. Ignorance and indifference are the main reasons why OS X hasn't had to face the onslaught that Windows has (and this onslaught doesn't necessarily have to mean successful attempts). The benefits of exactly how OS X was built will remain unknown until such time as it takes over a decent chunk of the market to warrant the attention of attackers - assuming that ever happens, of course.

Re:Security through obscurity is not permanent. (5, Insightful)

zulux (112259) | about 9 years ago | (#12006856)

It can safely be said that the amount of resources being expended to identify and cure OS X vulnerabilities is at least somewhat smaller than those used for Windows, in rough proportion to OS X's much smaller market share.

MORE effort is being spent to fix OS X than Windows - in proportion to market share.

OS X gets fixes from Apple.....

And FreeBSD.
And OpenSSH
And Samba
And Kerberos.
And Mach Developers.
And KHTML/KDE Developers.
And GCC Developers (stack protection,etc)

Plus a bunch more that I'm missing

Symantec grandstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006718)

Talk about a load of bullshit. the way Mac works, users have to explicitly allow malware to install itself. talk about spreading FUD to try to sell more license of their own software.

Services are turned off by default... (5, Insightful)

Philippe (3665) | about 9 years ago | (#12006721)

On MacOSX, most (all?) network services such as ftp, sshd, httpd... are turned off by default. And automatic software update (prompting the user) is on by default. That, coupled with a better security model from the ground up will ensure that the MacOS never becomes the trojan-infected mess that Windows has become.

Methinks that Symantec is propagating FUD to drum up sales...

Re:Services are turned off by default... (1)

zecg (521666) | about 9 years ago | (#12006806)

On MacOSX, most (all?) network services such as ftp, sshd, httpd... are turned off by default.

Yes, but there are still vectors of e-mail attachments and ichy user fingers. Mac OS X is used by a lot of people who are just as clueless as some of those who do it on Windows. So, build a user base and the viruses will come.

Hypotheticals....Hypotheticals (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 9 years ago | (#12006726)

Whenever anybody talks about OS X vulnerabilities its always "If OS X gains market share" or "viruses on OS X are likely.."

I can accept the THEORY that OS X will become a target as more people use it. BUT let's look at REAL numbers. I know of NO major (or even minor) outbreak of a virus or malware on OS X. Might..could...likeley....well there HAS NOT BEEN ONE.

Also. There will be more than one post that talkes about the fact that OS X users do not run the as the equivelant of a user with administrator roots on windows (which 90+ % of all windows users are guilty of).

The WORST you could do is trash your user environment. NOT the OS.

Re:Hypotheticals....Hypotheticals (4, Insightful)

Knobby (71829) | about 9 years ago | (#12006793)

The WORST you could do is trash your user environment. NOT the OS.

Who cares about the OS? The OS can be reinstalled in about an hour. I have 40GB stored in my user environment. It gets backed up every day, but a virus, worm, or trojan that wiped out the user environment could cost me a days work without too much trouble. That's a much larger concern to me.

Re:Hypotheticals....Hypotheticals (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 9 years ago | (#12006845)

Have you ever tried just recovering a user environment after windows is compromised? Settings are strewn throughout the registry and filesystems (along with installed apps). If you re-install windows and THEN recover your user profile you'll be VERY lucky if anything works at all.

With OS X (just as in UNIX). If you back up your user space and it gets trashed. It's as easy as restoring a single home directory onto the filesystem and you are back in buisness.

The only saving grace gone? (-1, Troll)

Some_Llama (763766) | about 9 years ago | (#12006734)

It used to be that you could say:

"Yah my Mac might be under powered compared to a PC, and yes it does cost 2x as much as a PC, and yes the software available for the Mac is severely lacking compared to a PC, but at least I don't have to worry about Viruses!!"

Now they can't even say that? sorry couldn't resist :P

My Mac runs OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006814)

'nuff said.

Norton AV is worse than malware (2, Informative)

zecg (521666) | about 9 years ago | (#12006767)

From what experience I've had with Norton antivirus for the PC, it does more damage to performance (network latency and throughput, memory and processor usage) than most malware. I've never installed it myself, just seen it on other people's PCs. I might just have wrong/incomplete experiences, but I think that their software is bloated crap with a horribly confusing UI. If I had a Mac OS X, I would prefer to have a command-line controlled utility which I never have to see, which runs as a service, updates transparently and can be fully controlled using plaintext configuration files. NOT anything remotely like Norton for the PC. Virex might not be good, but unleashing the pestilence of Norton upon the Mac is... cruel. Isn't there something like a chkrootkit in Darwin ports or Fink?

let's see!!! (4, Insightful)

netdur (816698) | about 9 years ago | (#12006773)

a small program that
1) fool web browser to download without user notice
2) chmod itself ---x--x--x
3) excute itself!!!

I don't think that is possible at *nix systems

"Style over Function" (1)

nikremt (842570) | about 9 years ago | (#12006774)

That analyst obviously hasn't spent much time working with OS X. It certainly has style and function in my opinion.

Viruses and Word (4, Insightful)

mr.dreadful (758768) | about 9 years ago | (#12006789)

The only real issue I have with OS X and viruses is with MCSFT Word macro viruses. Its worth having something that can sort those bad boys out because they can be spread to other users. I have one user who is constantly propagating macro-viruses, but I think I found the solution.

I'm moving him to Apple's Pages software.

Seems to handle doc files just fine, and no macro issues.

FUD. (4, Informative)

sakusha (441986) | about 9 years ago | (#12006807)

There may have been 37 alleged vulnerabilities identified in MacOS X, but there have been ZERO exploits of those vulnerabilities. Apple has often released patches within 48 hours of discovery of a vulnerability.

At the current time, there are NO known exploits for MacOS X. NONE.

What a crock of Shit! (5, Informative)

ravenspear (756059) | about 9 years ago | (#12006813)

Anyone who has been a Mac user for any length of time and has used Symantec products can testify to the horrid filthy mutilated piece of code that is a Symantec product on the Mac.

This is NOT A TROLL.

I have seen (and experienced myself) Symantec products CAUSE more problems than they fix (if they are even successful at fixing any) on the Mac platform.

I pity the poor soul who has no experience with Symantec on the Mac and falls for this pathetic ad piece.

MacOS not secure (1)

Surur (694693) | about 9 years ago | (#12006843)

I believe if we look at the record of vulnerabilities in the Fairplay/Itunes DRM solution by Apple we can conclude that they could not really withstand the concerted attention of hackers.

If these hackers had malicious intentions Apple would be in a lot of trouble now. If they become an attractive target they will fall.


Low volume, less hacking (1)

BagMan2 (112243) | about 9 years ago | (#12006852)

Gee, where have I heard that argument before. Oh yeah, I was modded down for it a couple days ago for suggesting that Linux has less hacks and seems more stable only because it has far less desktop volume.

I bought Norton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12006857)

for a W2k box and it's crap. The fact that I never _really_ know if it's stopping the things it says it's stopping aside, it sometimes takes the machine fifteen minutes to shutdown. If I disable Norton the machine shuts down in a few seconds.

Necessary? Maybe. Top shelf software? I don't think so.

Windows is unique (5, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | about 9 years ago | (#12006869)

The only reason Windows has had mass exploits written for it is the sheer number of connected devices that are present on most networks.
I gotta call bullshit on that.

Quite simply, Microsoft's operating systems and applications are unique within the industry -- no, not just the industry, but almost unique in post-1989 history itself -- in the careless way they treat data as code. Nobody else would have deployed ActiveX, or deliberately made executing a mail attachment as easy as clicking on it.

I can believe MacOS (or any other platform) has its share of bugs that can be exploited, but you just can't find anything as dangerous-by-design as Windows. Windows will always (even as its marketshare fades) be a comparatively unsafe platform, relative to what is normal. It's not just about code quality, it's about amazingly dumb ideas, combined with business practices that resulted in a situation where users' happiness is not a significant market force.

And of course, there's the obvious counter-example: where are all the BIND and Apache worms? Talk about "sheer number of devices"!

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