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ECT News Community   »   MacNewsWorld Talkback   »   Re: Mac Facing New Threats?



Re: Mac Facing New Threats?
Posted by: Ian Orchard 2005-05-08 07:08:25
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In April 2004, I wrote an item for this column headlined "OS X Virus Hoax?" in response to a news item that was spreading fear, uncertainty and despondency (FUD) about a trojan theoretically capable of attacking Mac OS X computers. Here we are a year later and once again a manufacturer of antivirus software is wailing "the sky is falling." Once again, closer scrutiny reveals little change in the last year. Potential loopholes that might allow some low-life to weasel his way into Macs have been found, but so far no-one has even attempted it.


Re: Mac Facing New Threats?
Posted by: eks 2005-05-08 07:18:52 In reply to: Ian Orchard
The article is well written but missing some important facts.
According to Sophos LLP, one of the top computer security companies on the planet, there are 68 viruses for the Mac and they are over ten years old. And therefore aimed at Mac Classic only.
Secondly, there is nothing in the wild aimed at Mac OS X and it will be a long time coming if at all. There are other kinds of attacks that can be made against OS X via the GUI and internet connected apps but attacking the OS itself and being successful will be extremely difficult.
According to Sophos LLP there are 68,000 'critters' for all flavors of Windows. The Windows/MS-DOS operating system is written to memory addresses. Malware writers need the memory address to tell the malware app where to go in order to do what it has been instructed to do. If there is no address it wouldn't know where to go and therefore couldn't function.
OS X is BSD Unix. The Unix kernel uses services, not memory addressing, to allow a user and the Unix OS to function. And when you install Mac OS X BSD Unix on a computer those services are installed randomly to various locations. Never the same. Therefore it is almost impossible to install a piece of malware into the OS to do it's nasty little job. It doesn't know where to go.
It must be remember that Unix was the OS used for DARPA, the original internet that is todays internet, for the government and the military. It had to be super secure. There were attempts to hack Unix years ago but they failed simply because of the way Unix is put together and since Unix is open source the open source community pitched in and made sure that nothing was successful in that area.
Remember, BSD Unix is over 40 years old and is the most stable and secure of all of the 110 flavors of Unix including Linux. One can never claim total immunity to the 'critters' out there but Unix comes pretty close. And the security through obscurity rationale is totally incorrect. There are those out there that would love to hack a Unix box but it is just too much work and Windoze is raw socketed and soooooo easy to attack.
Just some additional facts as to why it is sooooo difficult to HACK a MAC.
EKS
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