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Hackers turn their eyes towards Apple

updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon August 11, 2008

Apple hackers increasing

Hackers have started to pay greater attention to Apple devices as their popularity worldwide has expanded. Security experts claim that hackers have focused efforts towards the Windows platform because Microsoft has controlled more than 90 percent of the global market for years. This ensured hackers would have a wealth of targets to exploit.

Cameron Hotchkies, a Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) security analyst, believes Macintosh computers have been gaining market share and in the same process catching the interest of hackers. "It has slowly been growing as a target people are more and more interested in," said the security specialist. Hotchkiesis a part of a team devoted to studying programming holes and crafting "patches" to prevent hackers from exploiting weaknesses, specifically on Apple software.

Hotchkies noted that this year there was a spike in the number of DefCon attendees carrying Macintosh laptops. DefCon is an annual conference where specialists such as Hotchkies gatherer and hold sessions on weakness in todays electronics. It is also noteworthy that more than a thousand people crammed into his DefCon talk about hacking Apple software, a number far greater than seen in the past.

Another problem may be that developers who re-craft their software to work on a Mac, may not be capable of building security components as they are not familiar with platform. "Windows developers take their code and make it work on Apple," Hotchkies said. This, in theory, is good for Macs as it brings familiarity to the OS for potential switchers. "They [windows developers] could take potential vulnerabilities with them or possibly create new ones because they are working on an entirely different platform," explained Hotchkies.

It should be noted that regardless of similar claims over the last 2 years, no attacks have reached Mac OS X consumers. Several proof-of-concept attacks have been displayed, but these typically required users to consent to installation of a 'disguised' virus.

by MacNN Staff





  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Security my @ss

    If these security "experts" have such information, it means that they know at least some of those hackers. Why don't they expose the hackers or report them to the authorities?

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Thanks for telling towards what direction hackers' eyes are turned. I guess somehow this should unsettle Mac crowd though I'm not sure how exactly.

    P.S. Good news at least some "security vendors" won't be able to port their "security software" on Mac. Yupee!

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Resistance is not futile.

    Yes, yes, we know Macs aren't exploit-proof, they're just exploit-resistant. Luckily resistance is not futile, especially when IE is still wearing the ActiveX underpants with the "please exploit me" label on the waistband.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is news?

    There is nothing new here. What is the point of this article? The Mac is growing in popularity and there is a belief that hackers are now focusing on the Mac platform. Wow, I'm surprised I didn't get a CNN Newsflash on this!

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ah, Speculation

    Gotta love it when lack of news leaves agencies shooting the $h!t, or at least looking for people who can do it for them.


    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Several proof-of-concept attacks have been displayed, but these typically required users to consent to installation of a 'disguised' virus.

    How many new Windows 'virus' are out there? From what I've seen, most either get through IE (which require plug-in installation which the user usually has to OK - and apparently do without thinking) or trojans (if it requires installation, its not a 'disguised virus', but a trojan).

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Where are my boots?

    Jesus, it's got nothing to do with market share.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hackers use macs

    Number of hackers use Macs, but doesn't mean they hack OSX. They typically boot into linux to hack windows. They use OSX for when they are surfing the web, etc. They use windows for games. All done on the same Mac, easily.

    Keep in mind I said this very same thing quite a long time ago.

  1. Johnny Niles

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Let me know when these so-called "hackers" are able to do something to my Mac without physically sitting in front of it with my admin password in hand. Honestly, the FUD is just retarded. Spend more time reporting the truth of the situation and less time spreading FUD.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hey macnn

    What's with the Mac OS icon? Apple hasn't used that in years.

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