Apple Calls in Kaspersky Labs for Mac OS X Security Help

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News Posted: Mon, May 14 2012 2:54 PM
Whether Mac OS X was ever truly secure or just didn’t receive the same attention from cybercriminals as Windows operating systems, Apple was once a bastion of malware invulnerability. Those days are long gone, as recently somewhere between half a million and 600,000 Macs were found to be infected with the Flashback Trojan and security firms have found that even uninfected Macs carry and pass on Windows viruses to other users.

It appears as though Apple has stopped pretending that malware isn’t a problem for Mac OS X; according to Computing, the company has called in security experts Kaspersky Labs to help find and analyze the operating system’s vulnerabilities.

The much-needed yet tardy Java update

Kaspersky apparently doesn’t think Apple has taken security seriously enough and points to the Flashback debacle as evidence. Computing quoted Kaspersky CTO Nikolai Grebennikov (pictured, above right) as saying, “"Apple blocked Oracle from updating Java on Mac OS, and they perform all the udpates themselves. They only released the patch a few weeks ago – two or three months after the Oracle patch. That's far too long.”

Here’s hoping for everyone’s sake that Kaspersky does a thorough job digging through Mac OS X and that Apple does an even better job patching (or overhauling, as the case may be) its flagship operating system.

At least iOS is safe, right? Actually, according to Grebennikov, iOS will probably be breached sometime in the next year or so. Though there is no known malware targeted specifically at iOS, Grebennikov believes it’s coming.
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Steve jobs only passed away a few months ago and the Iron Curtain of P.R. is already falling... Interesting.

I really thought Apple was never going to own up to the fact that their operating system has security flaws. Yes the backend that OS X is built on is more secure than Windows but that does not mean it is without flaws. Hmm.

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CDeeter replied on Mon, May 14 2012 3:24 PM

This is welcome news indeed! I know I've bashed Apple about this for years, and rightly so I think, but only because I have friends who use iOS devices who really believed they were safe.

I hope this trend will continue with a much improved patch system put in place too.

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rapid1 replied on Mon, May 14 2012 3:30 PM

Yes; the false safety has been an inside joke for years. Not only did no sheep believe it even though the weakness was both great and real when they figure out that the fact they have been willingly snowed for years it is 1 of 2 things, more denial, or outright anger for being made a fool of. Unix can be more secure but only if it has the correct backbone etc as well as tools to make it so. Otherwise it is just as week as anything else which you expect to have security measures within but which actually has a very limited array to work with.

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lipe123 replied on Mon, May 14 2012 3:32 PM

Boo I had hoped apple would just claim ignorance a few more years until something like the good old sasser/blaster worms from the 90's hit macs world wide causing such a huge problem that everyone can see their lies.

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Inspector replied on Mon, May 14 2012 4:50 PM

So what other argument will mac users use when comparing or arguing with a windows users D:. Cause this is like the top ranked reason they buy a mac... lol :D

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JDiaz replied on Mon, May 14 2012 6:08 PM

It was actually over 600,000+ infected systems, Apple just tried to put spin control on the numbers and the guy who first came out with the report on actual numbers stated it still went up after the announcement and that they weren't correctly counting the total number. Since the way they were counting them was being interfered with... So it might have gone an addition 200-300 thousand more by his estimates before finally really leveling off.

Problem is the malware in question isn't new and normally relied on tricking users to infect systems but it was modified with a Java flaw that allowed it to bypass normal security and most people were never even aware they were infected. While even patched the original function of the malware remained and people who fell for the trick could still infect their systems or enter their information to be stolen.

Even the most secure systems can be foiled by user error and people are more prone to make those mistakes if they aren't concerned about security and especially if they think they're immune.

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NBurke replied on Mon, May 14 2012 9:43 PM

Like any software sometimes there is a problem. Why Mac denyed this problem for so long is just silly.

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realneil replied on Tue, May 15 2012 11:25 AM

JDiaz said it in a nutshell. Mac users think that they are immune, and they're not. This fact will be exploited more than once in the future.

I was able to talk all of my Mac using friends and family into installing the free Sophos Antivirus for Mac a long time ago. As a result, none of them were infected by this latest mess. All of them are glad that they believed me when I told them that Apple's infected days were coming soon.

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MMadru replied on Tue, May 15 2012 5:30 PM

This is interesting. Once you get labeled as a target and susceptible of viruses it'll be really hard to remove that stigma. Apple better act fast to keep their facade of "apple's don't get viruses" image.

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