updated 04:25 pm EST, Fri November 3, 2006
OS X Encrypted Binaries
Apple has encrypted core elements of its Mac OS X architecture, according to published research cited by eWEEK. Google researcher Amit Singh -- author of the recently released book Mac OS X Internals -- reports that certain binary portions of the operating system which include the Finder, Dock, and parts of Rosetta are protected by Apple, guarding the software against easy modification. Examination of the code reveals an overt anti-piracy effort, with Singh finding both a special "dsmos_page_transform" command and a "Don't Steal Mac OS X.kext" extension file inside the system. Singh and other experts believe the effort is aimed primarily at blocking non-Apple systems from running Mac OS X: "Probably what [the encryption is] used for here is as anti-reverse engineering," said Counterpace Internet Security CTO Bruce Schneier. The executive notes, however, that savvey users may still circumvent the code, and that there is nothing malicious about it. "There's nothing sinister here," he said.