Better is NOT Perfect

May 5, 2009

The Mac is NOT Malware Proof. The sky is NOT falling.

On not being Malware proof, Rich Mogull writes:

…just because we live in a nicer neighborhood doesn’t mean we are immune to risks. For many years Mac OS X did have an inherent security advantage over Windows, but to those who understand the technologies within the operating systems, those days are long past.

The latest version of Windows (Vista, not that most people use it) is provably more secure in the lab than the latest version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Leopard lacks proper implementation of the new anti-exploitation technologies included in Vista, and, based on the number of Apple security patches, experiences about as many vulnerabilities.

When I see articles that defend Mac OS X based on the lack of Mac-specific malicious software, and not on current technical capabilities, cybercrime dynamics, or attack methods, I tend to be dubious.

Mac OS X’s Unix core was a powerful security defense for many years, especially the requirement to enter a password before installing most kinds of software, but modern attack methods are able to circumvent that protection.

It’s part of his article on Mac Disaster News Stories.

Some days it seems the entire world is waiting with bated breath for the eventual fall from grace of the long-vaunted Macintosh security. From industry publications to the mainstream press, even the slightest Mac security hiccup spurs an onslaught of articles, debates, and even the occasional cable news headline. Some stories declare us invulnerable to attacks, while others give the impression that by the time you jump up from your armchair and rush to your Mac, it will already be infected and funneling your life’s savings and family photos to Nigerian spammers. For us Mac users it can be difficult to discern the lines between truth, hype, and outright fantasy.

As someone who spends most of his time reading, writing, and speaking about security, there are five things Rich tends to look for in Mac security news to cut to the heart of the story. After all the hype in recent days over the “Mac botnet,” he thought it was time to share some of his tricks.

Five Tips for Reading Mac Security Stories @ Tidbits.

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