One of the man reasons Apple users feel superior when they boot the Mac, is the supposed lack of viruses. There’s no doubt that locking hardware to software with the Unix operating system has security advantages, but is it invulnerable? New reports suggest not. KitGuru dresses like Colombo to investigate.
The idea of a BotNet is that a computer can be used to visit various web sites – without the knowledge or permission of the owner. In other words, you think your computer is sitting there waiting for you to click a mouse or launch an Angry Bird, but – in fact – it is busy hitting hundreds of web sites.
At the low end, it might be used to boost traffic to a particular site. At the other end of the scale, it can be used as part of a Denial of Service (DoS) attack – designed to bring down the systems at a major corporation or government.
One of Apple’s problems with its operating system, is that not 100% of the components required to run a computer are made by Apple. For instance, it needs to be able to run Java – presently owned by Oracle. A security vulnerability in Java was detected earlier in the year and a patch was released for non-Apple systems on Valentine’s Day by Oracle. Unfortunately, those security plugs were not applied to the Apple bathtub until 8 weeks later.
Experts say that the level of infection is probably around 600,000 Apple Macs – with half of the infected population living in the US of A.
Security firms with a ‘zero sized chunk of the fastest growing OS market’, like Kaspersky and F-Secure, were quick to jump on the band wagon with ‘See, see, we told you we were needed – please spend money with us’ messages of support. At least F-Secure wasn’t just throwing stones at the glass house, but also manage to post instructions that allow Apple victims to know whether their Mac needs hospitalisation.
KitGuru says: While this is a great story for the security community, the safety of Apple systems is hardly in doubt – and they are still significantly more solid than Windows-based PCs. Sure, you have to live without some features that PC users take for granted, but the idea that a ‘wild hoard’ can come crashing through your OS is unlikely.
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