Macs Less Secure From Hackers And Viruses

Mac users who've been smug for years over how secure their OS is, could be in for a rude awakening if news out of the Black Hat Security Conference is true.

As Macs have slowly gained market share on PCs — 9 percent of the market in the second quarter of 2009 and growing — the interest in hacking them has increased. The advances in security for the computers, however, has not kept pace, experts said at the Black Hat
security conference in Vegas.

Apparently, this time, what happens in Vegas is not staying there, and the 4,000 "security professionals" (including
hackers) who are attending the conference discussed the hacks and viruses that could end up making Macs just as vulnerable as Windows-based machines, if the bad guys start paying more attention to them. In fact, they said, Macs could be more vulnerable, because they have more code to potentially exploit.

Despite what Mac users like to think, Dai Zovi, a security researcher and co-author of "The Mac Hacker's Handbook," told Reuters in an interview, "There is no magic fairy dust protecting Macs."

At least three viruses infecting Macs have been identified in the past year, including one that was spread through pirated versions of iWorks and allows the hackers to take control of the Macs once they're infected. And Zovi demonstrated one "technique" that allows a hacker to take control of a computer's Safari browser if the computer's already been infected.

Apple is improving security measures, some said, but perhaps not fast enough.

"They are advancing. Our concern is that they are just not advancing as fast as they are gaining market share," Charlie Miller, co-author of "The Mac Hacker's Handbook," told Reuters.

Tags:  security, Mac, virus, Hacker