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ECT News Community   »   MacNewsWorld Talkback   »   Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: Roger L. Kay 2008-03-23 04:50:46
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Just as those living in shiny houses of self-righteous glass often end up surrounded by shards of their former sanctimony, so Apple now finds itself the increasingly appealing target of software hackers. For years, Apple's marketing has consisted of accentuating the positive and ignoring everything else. As hackers pillaged Microsoft's Windows operating system, Apple stressed that its computer platform was relatively virus-free, most notably in that snarky ad campaign, "I'm a PC. I'm a Mac."

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: totallyguan 2008-03-30 20:36:49 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
I am both an active Mac and Windows user. Honestly, all this talk about Apple is better than Windows in this and that is just nonsense. Apple has its great innovative and aesthetic traits, but because of its snobbish nature, it often neglects a lot of stuff that enable the user a better experience.
Although the writer has hardly presented any facts or figures stating the number of mac viruses vs windows virus, or the number of flaws mac has versus windows etc etc... he does have a point. Apple's market share of laptop/desktop sales are increasing every year and I do not see it dropping at all. There will come a time where Macs will be more mainstream and this would definitely attract more viruses and security attacks.
Though macs are pretty safe as compared to windows now, it is only a matter of time before mac becomes more vulnerable to numerous viruses.
To add on, the latest Apple Leopard OS was first to stumble to a security attack in a hacking competition recently as compared to the latest Windows Vista and Linux Os. It took just 2 mins for the dude to hack into it.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: jwmatt55 2008-03-25 14:14:56 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
I think the article was pretty good and to the point. So, there have not been many viruses / trojans written for OS X. But as the article points out it is just a matter of time.
I have been in the IT world since the middle 70's and have seen and experienced the rise of Window's virus's at first there were few, but as time progressed that number increased dramatically.
I had anti-virus on my Mac Plus in the 80's.
Granted that was a long time ago, but I just want to say that the one of the first Trojans was written for Unix systems.
I feel most of the comments that I have read regarding this article, ignore history, common sense and have fallen for the marketing dribble of Apple marketers.
OS X is a great platform (Especially since it is Unix Certified), but as the article points out software has bugs and holes from time to time and as time goes on I to expect to see the proliferation of Worms, trojans etc on the OS X platform.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: moreknowledge 2008-03-24 06:23:29 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
You write this as if you actually knew something! Do your homework and don't be a self promoting "security expert".
The tone of your article shows nothing but hubris with no facts to back it up. Exactly where are the viral attacks?
Show me anything written by anyone who's not a self proclaimed "security expert" outlining the nature and type of virii written for OS X that are successful in being dissiminated and that have been actuated without the operator helping through authentication.
Show me trojan horse attacks.
Show me anything that runs without admin authentication.
I'm waiting.
Still waiting.
I believe that all of the hubris is on your end of the phone and the technical publishing landscape is littered by the reputations of other writers, some more knowledgeable, some less, that have predicted Apple's upcoming fall from grace.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: ds_gear 2008-03-25 00:05:47 In reply to: moreknowledge
Just like all fan boys, they whine when their precious Macs are being attacked. Well, google for mac viruses and you will find a list of many on-going attacks. Example,
Good luck and if you do not want to get infected, stay off the web.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: Macaholic 2008-03-24 06:08:40 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
What a sad display of baseless bias.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: puggsly 2008-03-23 21:15:25 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
This has to be a joke right? With all this hoopla and growth to-date there is one trojan out for the mac that has seen nearly zero traction. Part of this is lack of installed base but more importantly there have been no scripting exploits that auto infect over a network or hack your address book to email to all your contacts. Also, wether because of watching Microsoft or simply due to good design, the user is given many opportunities to avoid infection. One other benefit for apple is how quickly it's users seem to just accept software updates which limit the possibility of hackers taking advantage of patched holes that are IMHO documented far too quickly.
As for the iPhone it is still safe in it's walled garden. Only those who choose to hack it are at any risk at this time. And who are you talking to who thinks apple 30% cut of software is too much. Hell the difference between wholesale and retail without all the perks of the App Store would normally amount to most of that without taking into account packaging, marketing, and distribution. AND APPLE GETS NOTHING FOR FREE APPS! So lets break this down. I as a software developer create an application that I want $30 for. Normally I'd sell it wholesale to amazon for $36 to cover packaging shipping, etc. Amazon would mark it up 20=30% and the end user would be charged what $45. Shareware is a bit different because you can avoid the packaging and distribution but you do have credit card charges and bandwidth/web hosting charges and don't forget your updates and marketing. Sure, you might be able to deliver your product for $33-$35 instead of $39 but does anyone really believe you will sell even close to the same number of copies?
Some people may see Apple putting up these walls to lock users in but walls can be put up to keep the evil hoards out too. And with apple at the center of distribution the likely hood of an iPhone virus (outside the hacker community) and very slim indeed.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: mickpass 2008-03-23 20:16:19 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
The author here seems to caught up in his own hubris. There are are many mentions through the article of the number of viruses rising in the Apple community. I'd like the author, who seems very confident of this, to name those viruses. At last count OS X wasn't affected by any that I have heard of. There are one or two Trojans that require the user to go through many steps, including entering their password, to install them. No one can account for stupidity. I have also heard a Trojan on jail broken iPhones. To me that is the users' problem for tampering with the phone, not Apples.
I'm not stupid enough to believe that Apple is totally immune to viruses now or in the future, but for the author to be so misinformed about what is currently happening in the community left me in peels of "derisive laughter". Unless of course he has inside knowledge of potential viruses, which in that case he should instantly contact Apple and the police with the information and not just spread this sort of diatribe over the net.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: boomer0127 2008-03-23 17:51:08 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
I am confused. "The hackers are getting motivated". Do you have any first hand knowledge of this or are you making this up? Shouldn't you be talking to Apple and the security folks if you have specific knowledge of future exploits against any platform?
"Some developers make you look good, others trash your reputation". Are you saying that 3rd party software is the reason for all of Microsoft's security woes? All those Microsoft security patches are for 3rd party software? Conversely, aren't there thousands of third party apps for the mac, too? Why haven't they been an avenue for malicious attacks on the mac?
"It's little surprise then that reports of Mac viruses have been rising steadily." Can you name 1 virus for OSX that has done any damage or caused anyone to lose data? I'm sorry, but a pretty extensive search turns up only proof-of-concepts, not actual malware. Reports may be up, but not of Mac viruses.
"The elegant simplicity of your platform just makes hacking easier." Huh? The elegant simplicity of the mac is for the users. BSD UNIX is the base of the platform, not exactly child's play. It is no easier to hack OSX as it is to hack UNIX. No, it is not impossible, but the low-hanging fruit is still with Microsoft's OS.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: ynda 2008-03-23 16:19:58 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
What are the facts rather than this opinion piece. How many PC viruses vs how many Mac viruses? Approximate numbers will suffice.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: Mr-Reeee 2008-03-23 14:51:57 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
Actually, Mac OS X has been out in the wild since 2000 with the Public Beta. In that time there have been ZERO viruses reported. ZERO. In fact, for the entire history of the Macintosh platform there were only around 60 released and for the Classic Mac OS ONLY.
I saw a virus once on a friend's Mac. It was back in 1991. I've never seen on since, even when I was running anti-virus software in the days before Mac OS X
There have been a couple of trojans released that rely on user stupidity/ignorance, as there have been a few Microsoft macro thingies released.
So, if you keep your Mac Microsoft free, there's not much to worry about.
Yes, there have been numerous FUD and scare tactic press releases warning of viruses from, oddly, companies who write and sell anti-virus software. Sapho (?), MacAfee, Symantec.
But again, there have been ZERO viruses for Mac OS X reported.
Windows, of course is a different can of worms. it must be, what nearly 150,000 viruses reported, to say nothing of spyware and malware and those nasty Zombie things we've all read about.
I'm sure, that if a real honest to badness Mac OS X virus is ever released, Mac users will take the necessary precautions. Until then, armed with Mac OS X's rock-solid UNIX core, unlike swiss-cheesy Windows, there's little to think about virus/spy-malware-wise.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: ershler 2008-03-23 14:15:54 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
"It's little surprise then that reports of Mac viruses have been rising steadily." I would like to see support for the above claim. There have been many reports of vulnerabilities recently, most of which have already been patched. But, Vulnerabilities ARE NOT viruses.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: gkent 2008-03-23 12:59:00 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
The inaccuracies are quite amazing for an article in a Techcentric site. Mac viruses? How many Mac viruses in the wild? None, or one that is undocumented. The Mac OS no more secure than Windows? You must be kidding. There have been numerous contests to hack the Mac. Most have seen no winners. Security specialists time and again analyzed the security differences between Windows and the Mac, and they are huge. While one might agree that as more developers write programs for the Mac there may be more crappy programs and some problems, the scope of those problems based on the recent past should be very small compared to the crapware, spyware, trojans etc that cause Windows uses to spend billions of dollars on security software.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: priorityx 2008-03-23 11:20:37 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
I've never bothered to respond to articles that attempted to document problems with Mac OS X security. Most articles at least try to spin what little documentation they provide. This article does not even try to backup the claim. It is simply a refection of the author's inability to understand the truth that there is no credible security threat to the Mac OS X operating system other than a couple the user permits to install by entering their password.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: brotherStefan 2008-03-23 09:33:51 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
"Everyone makes mistakes. But society loves to repay hubris with derisive laughter." One would think that journalists, of all people, would know this better than anyone. I guess that's why so many of today's articles revolve around some sort of schadenfreude. The breathless tone of the article makes it sound like it's "all over" for Apple security. I can only imagine the hysteria when that first breech finally occurs.

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: Persnickety 2008-03-23 08:29:06 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
In his recent piece "Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall", Roger L. Kay trots out some old, nonsensical arguments, and creates some of his own.
"The main reason Apple had been left alone by hackers was not by virtue of any superior security technology, the company's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Software is, after all, eminently hackable. Only sufficient motivation is required."
This is an argument that falls along the lines of "Gold must not be valuable because no one has broken into Fort Knox. Safes are, after all, eminently crackable". It also flies in the face of the data - software is not cracked relative to its popularity. A quick bit of "evidence" (a word Kay may want to review): Apache, the most widely used web-serving software, is more secure than its Microsoft counterpart. Also, regard that Mac OS X, with some 5% of marketshare does not have 5% of the exploits in the wild of, for example, Windows. It has none. Like Fort Knox, it is designed for better security - making it harder (although anyone would agree still possible) to crack.
And here, notice the use of the word "crack" to denote malicious entry. Kay seems to hold a job in the technology field but is still confused on the "hack/crack" distinction. As the _only_ "evidence" that Apple is finally getting malicious attention, he cites iPhone hacking. You might think that he means someone has found a way to break into your phone to steal data or make calls, but you'd be wrong. Users have voluntarily added new functionality to their phones.
"Hackers went to town on the iPhone from day one, opening it for service with nondesignated wireless providers and dropping applications onto it at will." Kay seems to be saying we should be alarmed. But this is not a hack that someone does "to you". If you don't want to hack your own phone, just don't do it.
He finishes with the false "Apple, welcome to Microsoft's world!" Frankly, if this were the type of problems that Microsoft had, the world would be a much better place.
The lack of any foundation for his arguments is made worse by the smarmy tone that runs throughout. Here's a hint: don't act righteous unless you are, indeed, right.
The explicit lack of any critical thought here makes me wonder if Business Week has a technology editor, or whether that person is merely asleep at the switch.
"Everyone makes mistakes. But society loves to repay hubris with derisive laughter." Indeed?

Re: Apple and Security: Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Posted by: ChampagneBob 2008-03-23 06:52:04 In reply to: Roger L. Kay
Roger, What a dumb-ass article. Typical fluff piece with no documentation or evidence to back up the hypothesis presented. Try and come up with something original next time.
Jump to:
If my employer requires me to return to the company's office full-time to perform my job, I will...
Agree, because I like my job regardless of where I perform my duties.
Comply, because I can't afford to lose my current job.
Go with the flow, but start looking for different employment.
Resign immediately, so I can dedicate all of my time to find a job that better suits my needs.
Try to negotiate a hybrid work from home / work in office arrangement with my employer.