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Apple admitting to vulnerability of Mac OS X?

updated 12:40 pm EDT, Wed June 10, 2009

Apple security attitude

Apple has changed its attitude towards viruses and malware on the Mac, claims security firm Intego. Apple last year issued an advice statement admitting that "since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, antivirus software may offer additional protection." In announcing more features of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Intego notes that Apple has taken a more stringent approach, for instance implementing code changes like sandboxing, library randomization and execute disables; each limits the potential damage of an outside threat.

In the past Apple has been comparatively dismissive of Mac security problems, sometimes issuing a patch weeks or months after the disclosure of an exploit. Some "Get a Mac" TV ads have implied that only Windows systems face serious attacks; the company has had to reverse course, however, in part because of malware like OSX Trojan.iServices, affecting pirated copies of iWork and Photoshop. Stability and security have been stated focuses of Snow Leopard, aside from multi-processing improvements.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +15

    No

    No, they are not admitting to anything. Just because they think the security was good enough (and the safety is even better), doesn't mean they can't improve upon it.

  1. MacMan2000

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    well...

    I don't personally think that they are "admitting" to any issues at all. They are simply stating a fact that no system is perfect. With that, they are offering the thought that one might benefit from some type of protection. Also, the Mac can also run windows on the same computer, and it is in constant communications with other systems that have other OS on them. Thus, the Mac could be sent a PC virus, and pass it on to another PC. While, at this time I have not heard of a "true" verified Mac virus, just a possible threat. I personally have not had Norton on my machine for 8 years now. Don't see the need for it. I just think they are covering their butts, recommending something.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -7

    Covering butts?

    They are covering their butts? From what? I will tell you...the inevitability that there will me Mac viruses and malware as the OS becomes more and more popular.

    People don't write viruses to "get back at MS" they do it because Windows is the most popular OS. If the tables were reversed and OSX was the dominant OS, Apple would be in the same boat.

    This all comes down to attacking the largest pool of victims, nothing more.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    If the tables were turned

    If the tables were turned, OS X would have more malware than it does, yes, and Windows would have less than it does... but there would still be more malware for Windows simply because Windows and the standard Windows applications have a much higher surface area to infection.

    That may not remain true. Apple might come up with something as insanely insecure as ActiveX, or abandon the UNIX utilities and network model that make it unnecessary to use firewalls to prevent connections to local sockets, but as the OS now exists it is, while not perfect, still inherently safer than Windows even WITHOUT the extra layers of security features Apple has slathered on top of it.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +18

    Let the FUD begin

    It has nothing to do with market share...it has everything to do with OS design.

    Let's see...what does Intego do? Oh yeah...they make anti-virus software. So they're not a biased source of information at all.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +10

    Oh, Intego?

    Oh, I missed that... this is an alert from Intego? The same company that has been warning about an imminent malware threat on OS X since early 2004 at least, and on Palm OS for a couple of years earlier than that?

  1. Kees

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    popularity

    The whole, OS X has too little market share to attract viruses is such nonsense. With Apple advertising their relative immunity to attacks, the notoriety to be gained by creating a successful OS X exploit is huge. This is more than enough incentive, so it must be quite difficult to do, and certainly over the heads of the 14 year old script kiddies out there.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +11

    admitting..???


    Nowhere in the article is there any statement that Apple 'admits' anything - it's just third parties implying and inuendo, mostly aimed at selling their products.

    Wow, MacNN shilling for virus merchants... who'd have thought.

  1. spyinthesky1

    Joined:

    +7

    Beyond FUD

    Who wrote this rubbish the advice statement mentioned was proved to be nothing new and a temporary error so improving security is just what it is, a continuing process to cater for ever changing threats. Only a fool would not improve security so using it as evidence of any admission is totally filaceous. Combining two non events to create a third is simply mischievous in the extreme.

  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +9

    Intego == Integrity No

    Intego has a long history of grossly exaggerating OS X security threats to hype their software, so I don't trust a word they say. Neither should you.

    Believing an anti-virus vendor about the severity of a security threat is like taking a tobacco company's word that their products are harmless. There are plenty of independent places to get reliable information about security.

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