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US Army seeks to integrate Macs

updated 09:40 am EST, Mon December 24, 2007

US Army seeks Macs

The US Army is turning to Macs in face of increasing security threats, reports say. Following Internet attacks on the likes of the Pentagon -- and other members of the military-industrial complex, such as Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman -- the Army has been working to increase its defenses against hackers, and Macs are forming a portion of this because there are said to be far fewer exploits for Mac OS X than there are for Windows. Of the Army's approximately 700,000 desktops and servers, 20,000 are made by Apple.

For years the primary obstacles have been cost and compatibility, the Army says. However, while an Apple machine is still more expensive than a comparable PC, the security issue is important enough now that requisition officers are willing to overlook the price difference. X-Serves are now increasingly prevalent in Army data centers, says Lieutenant Colonel C.J. Wallington, where they are holding up to the burden. "Those are some of the most attacked computers there are," Wallington notes. "But the attacks used against them are designed for Windows-based machines, so they shrug them off."

Similarly, where Macs were previously incompatible with technologies such as the Common Access Cards scanning system, the Army is now attempting to provide support. A CAC application for Macs should be ready by February of next year, or shortly thereafter, opening the door wider for Apple in many departments.

The company has inside marketing help, though, in the form of Jonathan Broskey, a former Apple worker who is now in charge of the Army's Mac program. The Army's efforts are also being criticized by the likes of Charlie Miller, a researcher with Independent Security Evaluators. Miller comments that while diversification is in the Army's interests, hackers may simply pick the weakest of the two targets, and cause nearly as much damage as they might have otherwise.

Miller further agrees with the notion that Macs are not as secure as they seem, citing Secunia data which suggests that nearly five times as many patches were released for Apple software last year as were for Windows. This view has been heavily disputed; regardless, Finnish security company F-Secure notes that hackers increasingly targeting Macs, and at an alarming rate. Whereas the past two years have generally produced a tiny amount of Apple-targeted code, over 100 pieces of malware have been discovered in the last two months alone.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Inaccurate about CAC

    Apple computers have been CAC compatible for over a year already.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Excellent Opportunity

    Here, we could see a great test of Mac OSX security. You can be sure that government run servers and the like have proper security settings in place thanks to staff that is actually knowledgeable and have an extremely high need for security.

    What I'm saying is, we can almost discount ppl having the wrong port and system settings that would open up a system to attack and see if threats actually get through a REAL world setting.

    You know Apple would be quick to fix any holes is the US Army points out to them. If the hardware and software prove their mettle under this kind of fire, you can expect the X-Serves to get a lot more attention after this thanks to their comparably low cost, ease of maintenance, and secure nature.

    It'll be just one more reason to discount the current so-called "hacks" that are out there now.

    Now, if only we could get users not to do stupid things, there would be a secure future of the net out there. The day h*** freezes over, and all...

  1. bloggerblog

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    great

    now we can kill innocent people with style, justify our actions by labeling them as terrorists, and get paid for it by robbing their oil.

    Yeah!! Let's wave our star spangled banner with heart warming comfort.

  1. t6hawk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Over 100 pieces ?

    "...over 100 pieces of malware have been discovered in the last two months alone."

    Really? That's news to me. I wonder what they consider malware. I don't remember hearing anything about Macs having that much new malware.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: excellent opp

    Here, we could see a great test of Mac OSX security. You can be sure that government run servers and the like have proper security settings in place thanks to staff that is actually knowledgeable and have an extremely high need for security.

    OK, and how can we be sure of this? They never really did before (h***, is it that hard now to turn on a firewall, yet hackers still get in?).

    And from my experience in the navy, the staff may be exactly like you describe, but it doesn't make them competent (I mean, they lock down your computer so you can't change the screen saver, but you can update/delete files in the Program Files folder????)

    What I'm saying is, we can almost discount ppl having the wrong port and system settings that would open up a system to attack and see if threats actually get through a REAL world setting.

    And how would this be different then with Windows?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    CAC support is not new

    http://www.apple.com/itpro/federal/

    That pretty much says it all.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    US security

    Someone call Pentagon and tell them what "security experts" are saying. And tell them to buy Symantec Antivirus on taxpayers' money.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    bloggerblog...

    It's hard to believe you took this article to such a trollingly extreme post.

    ...and, your english is surprisingly good. I can't figure out what country you're from, you seem to be against America on so many angles. I think you meant to post on the www.commieterroristsagainstamericaNN.com

  1. hezekiahb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    bloggerblog

    Instead of debating such useless trolling click on bloggerblog's name & add him to your ignore list. He's looking for a rise out of you, don't play his game.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Bloggerblog...

    Right you are!

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