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As Apple Macintosh computers get more popular among end-users, more and more viruses and malware emerge for the platform, which has been known for its invulnerability, and more Mac personal computers get attacked. To make the matters worse, Eugene Kaspersky, the head of Kaspersky Lab, a leading PC security company, claims that Apple is significantly behind Microsoft when it comes to security.

"I think they are ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security. For many years I have been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. It has always been possible to develop Mac malware, but this one was a bit different. For example it was asking questions about being installed on the system and, using vulnerabilities, it was able to get to the user mode without any alarms," said Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer of Kaspersky Lab, in an interview with CBR web-site.

It has always been a matter of time before mass malware for Apple Macintosh platform would emerge. Recent record sales of Macs have just catalyzed designers of viruses to develop  malicious software for Apple computers. The problem is that Microsoft is ready to fight the problems all the time and release appropriate patches within hours after a problem transpires. Apple could not react instantly on the recent Flashback and Flashfake outbreaks.

"Apple is now entering the same world as Microsoft has been in for more than 10 years: updates, security patches and so on. We now expect to see more and more because cyber criminals learn from success and this was the first successful one," said Mr. Kaspersky.

Essentially, Apple will have to do what Microsoft did ten years ago. It will have to reconsider update policy, create rapid-response security teams and invest more into security of its Mac OS in general.

"They will understand very soon that they have the same problems Microsoft had ten or 12 years ago. They will have to make changes in terms of the cycle of updates and so on and will be forced to invest more into their security audits for the software. That is what Microsoft did in the past after so many incidents like Blaster and the more complicated worms that infected millions of computers in a short time. They had to do a lot of work to check the code to find mistakes and vulnerabilities. Now it's time for Apple [to do that]," concluded one of the world's top security experts.

Tags: Apple, Kaspersky Lab, Mac OS, Windows, Microsoft

Discussion

Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 04/27/12 02:42:37 PM
Latest comment: 06/12/13 02:34:29 PM
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1. 
Lets see how fast Apple can adapt. Hopefully, quickly.
0 0 [Posted by: MonkRX  | Date: 04/28/12 01:18:22 AM]
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2. 
Aren't unix based systems safer from the start due to how files are handled? You have user/group controls plus each file is marked as read/write/executable. How a file is handled doesn't change with a suffix name change, right? Now I know just enough to make myself dangerous but doesn't that finer grain control make a difference?
0 2 [Posted by: Psece  | Date: 04/28/12 09:50:46 AM]
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Unix inherently throws up more "Enter Your Password" screens than Windows does. As far as I know that's all that makes it any safer from a consumer standpoint...aside from the fact that there isn't canned viruses written for *ix as there is for Windows.

Windows can be locked down pretty secure to where even if I virus did sneak in it wouldn't be able to do much. Just most of that is default off because it's annoying as hell to deal with.
0 0 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 04/28/12 06:35:41 PM]
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Lots of UNIX folks (particularly OS X fans) will tell you that, but that's only because their knowledge of Windows is so limited. Essentially, they think the Windows NT line (NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8) is no different than the 95 line (95/98/98 SE/ME). When you see comments *to this day* about Windows being DOS-based... it's unbelievable.

NTFS has **far more granular** ACLs than the UNIX model. ACLs were grafted on to some UNIX-based OSes later on (10.4 for OS X, though somewhat handicapped). Windows is also the first commercial OS that introduced (with Vista) Mandatory Integrity Control, which controls access between objects and overrides NTFS ACLs. System files are protected by multiple levels of access control.

The reality is that years ago, a stupid concession was made for convenience (to mirror the Windows 9x line) at that expense of security: by default in Windows (until XP), users are given admin-level control. This would be the same as running as root in UNIX--something very few people do, and it's a deliberate choice they make. When you're presented with a password prompt rather than a simple Yes/No prompt, you're far more likely to consider the implications. You can easily set up a "Standard" (non-admin) user in Windows, and for most things, this works just fine. However, many developers never adapted their products to a non-admin environment--many out of laziness and/or ignorance, some because it would be a large undertaking for their particular product, some for other reasons. UAC was introduced in Windows Vista as a sort of hybrid model, but many ignorant folks--including industry journalists that should know better--complained about it as "annoying," rather than recognizing the security necessity (and many of these same people criticize Microsoft breathlessly for security issues), while never drawing the parallel function in other OSes. Many folks still turn off UAC and run as an unrestricted admin on their machines.

Couple the fact that malware writers have long written their software specifically for Windows and the fact that most users have made it that much easier for malware writers by disabling the security controls built into Windows, and you have your reason. There's nothing inherently safer about UNIX. If anything, Windows provides more safety mechanisms and controls, but they don't work when they are disabled or go unused. And even then, no OS is invulnerable. Windows is simply targeted far, far, far more. It's safer to ride your bike in Iowa than it is to drive a tank in Iraq. That doesn't mean a bike is "inherently safer" than a tank.
1 0 [Posted by: bluvg  | Date: 05/01/12 12:07:40 AM]
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3. 
The most important feature that makes OS X based PCs more secure is it's low market share.
0 0 [Posted by: PsiAmp  | Date: 04/29/12 09:18:55 PM]
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4. 
the difference between *nix users and windows users is that *nix users know what they are doing and windows users are dumb f**ks that got 20 hours tuition at high school to do a database and spreadsheet. idiots swarm to windows like flies to *hit.
*nix does all the stuff windows can but many versions are free which is a big bonus, but not for idiots who will find a way to *uck things up whatever you give them to play with.
0 0 [Posted by: Ed Kemp  | Date: 06/12/13 02:34:29 PM]
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