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Symantec warns about Mac OS X security, hacker threat

updated 08:15 am EST, Mon March 21, 2005

Mac OS X security warning

Security vendor Symantec has warned that Mac OS X is increasingly and that Mac users are complacent about security issues. ZDnet Australia reports that Symantec's seventh bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report reveals that security researchers have discovered at least 37 serious vulnerabilities in the Mac OS X system over the past year. "As Apple increases its market share--with new low cost products such as the Mac mini--its userbase is likely to come under increasing attack. 'Contrary to popular belief, the Macintosh operating system has not always been a safe haven from malicious code. Out of the public eye for some time, it is now clear that the Mac OS is increasingly becoming a target for the malicious activity that is more commonly associated with Microsoft and various Unix-based operating systems."

by MacNN Staff




  1. chabig

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This may be true, but

    This may be true, but it's hard to take seriously the words of a company that's trying to convince you of a need to buy its product.

  1. MacMoose

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just be smart

    Hey, ...

    We are Mac users but are also pretty well educated. I would like to think that if indeed some very intelligent hackers, decide to do the nasty and start exploiting OS X weaknesses, then the security companies, Apple and others will rise to the occasion and do what they can. Everyone knew this could happen someday. But at least with OS X, there is the admin password and other things in place to make it much more secure than it's Windows equivalent systems.

    Hey.... a new market for companies to make money could arise and that means more security, even someone else makes a profit. Lets not jump and say the sky is falling quite yet though.


  1. pbriggs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Norton - Malware

    Since I stopped installing Symantec Software my Macs have run a whole lot better! Norton is the best example of Malware for Macs I can think of.

    All Symantec are doing is trying to instill F.U.D. in new Mac users, who may have just switched from Windows and can't believe they don't need a virus killer, spyware killer etc. Yes, OSX will surely come under fire from Virus writing idiots, but the market share isn't going to double or treble overnight even if Apple could keep up with demand.

  1. MacScientist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Marketing FUD

    Symantec is getting desparate. For all of the alarm, Symantec was able to name exactly one vulnerability in the last six months. The Opener script named was not so much a MacOS X vulnerability, but a Unix bash script that could affect unprotected Unix computers in general.

    For the first time in my memory, Symantec has accepted that time-worn 1999 Microsoft excuse that large marketshare makes vulnerabilities. Leaving aside the fact that Norton Antivirus patches weaknesses in Windows's design and not its marketshare, marketshare is not uniform. Accepting the argument that a virus needs a critical mass of targets in order to propagate, this critical mass is available in certain markets where the Mac has a large following. Yet, you don't see the publishing industry, the computer graphics industry, or any other Mac stronghold brought low by external threats.

  1. alabamer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ...if Symantec says it?

    Contrary to popular belief? I guess my last 4 years of being free of virus/adware/malware/spyware/crapware is 'contrary to popular belief'?

    I know the mac is not invulnerable, but don't spread information that is completely inaccurate.

    Vulnerabilities? Yes. But mac systems are also patched immediately via software updates. (Immediate in my mind is where the vulnerability is patched before anything bad could've happened)

    Also, because the macs have such a good uptodate mechanism, virus and malware writers would never have much luck writing their code, anyway. If they were actually able to come out with some sort of exploit, the OS becomes updated so fast that their window of opportunity to take advantage of a hole doesn't give them much 'bang for the buck'. i.e. They spend all that time coding only to be thwarted by having the OS updated to remove the vulnerability. Granted, it's the same way on the PC side, however, with Grandma Jones and Sister Sue's MS-based computers, do you think they actually ever click on the "There are updates ready for your computer" icon? Every one I come into contact closes every window they can because they are so afraid of unleashing a virus on their computer. They don't know the difference between an email and a Microsoft 'update' and so nothing is updated on their machines.

  1. Meövv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Rise and fall

    Norton Disk Doctor used to be the best Mac program that existed. Symantec's current suite causes more problems than it could potentially fix. Meanwhile no other companies are making competing products since the threat levcel is so low. What do we do in the unlikely event that the worst happens? Virex is painfully slow and useless. Please Symantec, make a NAV version 10 that is worthy of your good old name. Make it less bloated, fast, non-intrusive, and for God's sake make it completely possible to uninstall and turn off.

  1. trevc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    ... does Tiger offer more 'security'. Is there firewall, etc.?

  1. macbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Norton a no no on my Macs

    I gave up installing Norton on my new Macs long ago because I found more problems and issues with that software than I ever had with malware/viri. Just say no to Norton and their fear mongering marketing targeted at former Windows users.

  1. galarneau

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Agreed: Pure FUD

    When an independent auditor tells me that the Mac platform is becoming more vulnerable to attack, I'll believe it.

    When someone who has an obvious interest in selling me their c*** product tells me I need it, well... I think they're just being shysters.

  1. zro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    To trevc

    There's a firewall now.

    The source of this info is highly suspect. Mac market share hasn't grown that much and "hackers" will continue to focus on what's easiest to harm, not necessarily what's more common.

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