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\'Hardened\' PowerBook compromised

updated 02:55 pm EST, Wed February 8, 2006

Hardened PB compromised

A security researcher at the recent ShmooCon hacking conference was taken by surprise when an unknown hacker compromised his PowerBook running Mac OS X, disabling the firewall and starting up a file server. The PowerBook had been 'hardened' to all known attacks at the time, and future analysis of the PowerBook revealed nothing about how the attacker managed to penetrate the system. "The machine was as hardened as best practices could suggest for anyone," the researcher said. The researcher believes that a previously unknown exploit caused the compromise, and with Apple's switch to Intel-based Macs, crackers will feel at home with the memory architecture and other elements below the application level. The successful attack underscores a number of trends that has already caused a shift in focus amidst security analysts and could result in more attacks on Mac OS X, according to SecurityFocus.

by MacNN Staff





  1. mpbritt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This guy most likely left his PowerBook unattended for a few minutes in a roomful of hackers. Of course someone is going to walk over and install a rootkit on it. Duh.

  1. bokubob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    but maybe....

    ...he was wrong.

    Let's all freak out anyway.

  1. l008com

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is the most pathetic bullshit story i've ever seen. I can't believe macnn posted this. What is their goal, to simply post the most mac stories possible, regardless of quality?

  1. Salmon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fair enough

    Honestly, the article struck me as reasonably balanced. I can't substantiate this specific story, but it is common knowledge that UNIX has never been, and is not now, a perfectly secure operating system; there are viruses for it, there are exploits for it. I love my Macintosh, but all the folks who insist that the operating system is perfectly secure with its UNIX core are deluding themselves.

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Intel makes no difference

    Using Intel chips won't make it any less safer. How come windows is more insecure than Intel on linux? It's the operating system, not whether a hacker can access the x86 architecture

  1. UpQuark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree...

    Nothing is secure as soon as you put it on a network. There are just different degrees..

  1. Lance Moody

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And hanging from the door

    ...was a bloody hook.

    Doesn't get any closer to an urban legend than this. No names, or other facts that could be checked. Calling him a "researcher" instead of "this guy" does not make the story any more credible.


  1. VinitaBoy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What A Load!

    OK, so my ex-wife's third cousin's mother-in-law says she knows for certain that her butcher's youngest son has a friend whose step-brother belongs to a group somewhere in the midwest that knows how to hack OS X! REALLY! It's true!

  1. redwood

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give me a break..

    First of all, "All known best practices" is way to general a statement. I just went through a hardining guide last night in fact that was 25 pages long and would take at least a couple of hours to complete properly. I would like to know what measures this guy took, was it simply to turn on the firewall? Did he have a password on startup? Was his open bios protected with a password? on and on and on...

    Furthermore, many other people there with powerbooks at no problems. How likely is it that only one powerbook would be attacked.

    Anyway, this is to quote the story comments "Long on FUD, short on facts."

  1. porieux

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A roomful of hackers with physical access to the machine? Wow, that's really representative of the real world isn't it?

    Not to mention this 'hardening' process is probably where he compromised his security in the first place...

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