Malware Authors Get Boost from Apple's Sluggish Updates, Infect 600K Macs
April 6, 2012 8:40 AM
(Source: Science Photo)
Apple refuses to let Oracle patch Java directly, cybercriminals celebrate 2 months of easy hunting
If you have a Mac and you browse the internet, there's a chance your "secure" Apple, Inc. (
) computer may have been compromised, allowing hackers to
use your computer as part of a botnet
to spread spam and launch distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
I. Half a Million Macs Infected
by security firm Dr Web claims to have discovered at least 600,000 Macs to be infected by "Flashback" the latest in a growing deluge of Mac malware [
The new malware first takes root by masqerading as a Flash player update, which many users haplessly approve. It then does various devious and dastardly deeds, depending on the variant.
Early versions disabled XProtect,
Apple's pseudo-secret antivirus program
, which it quietly slipped in version 10.6.7. The crippling of the protector program was a multi-step sophisticated process where the trojan first decrypted a file attached to the program, then decrypted the path of the updater binary, and finally stopped the updater daemon and overrwrote key files.
The latest version v39, has even more dangerous capabilities:
The exploit then reportedly downloads other malicious programs to control the computer, conscripting it into the authors' botnet. Typically every program installed on the Mac requires user permission to install, a process similar to
the user account control (UAC) warnings
in Windows. However, after the Java exploit, users no longer receive such warnings about the malware installations.
II. Apple Moves Sluggishly to Fix Gaping Holes
In recent months Flashback has been exploiting three specific known Java vulnerabilties. Oracle Corp. (
) had fixed these vulnerabilities way back on Feb. 14, but Mac users did not have access to the free protection as Apple does not allow Oracle to directly update its machines.
Instead Mac users had to wait until 4/4/2012 -- this Wednesday -- to receive
for the last of the flaws. A second update was released yesterday,
security firm Intego. Given that there are commonly other flaws that are patched by Oracle, but not on Macs, these latest patches are likely only to slow -- not stop -- the malware.
In addition, Apple does not automatically install such critical updates on users machines. Rather it prompts them that the update is available in OS X, then allows them to install the update at their own convenience. As a result, many users may never patch the flaws or go weeks unprotected. This contrasts with Microsoft who forces users to endure the
occasional nightly reboot
in the name of security.
Apple has long practiced a negligent approach when it comes to security. Where Microsoft rewards developers who point out potential security flaws,
Apple bans them
III. Macs -- Not That Safe Anymore
Apple users, like Linux users, long trumpeted their platform's "superior security". Even Apple joined in this fun,
attacking veteran operating system maker Microsoft
). While there was some truth in these claims, it was largely due to Apple's miniscule market share -- malicious hacking tends to be profit-motivated and spending a whole lot of work to infect a small portion of a few million machines seemed a lot less attractive than being able to infect hundreds of millions of machines with Windows-geared exploits.
But Apple has
risen in market share
, shipping 16.8m Macs in its fiscal 2011 (which ended in calendar Q3 2011). Now it's learning the pain Microsoft felt for years.
Many Apple users blindly believe their favorite company will protect them sufficiently. In reality Apple does less than Microsoft to protect its users. [Image Source: Eater]
Apple's reaction has been slow at best. Apple still insists on redistributing third parties security updates, but
does so at a leisurely pace
, endangering its users. At the same time, the company was revealed to have been instructing its technicians to
lie to users
and not tell them if their systems are infected.
Timur Tsoriev, an analyst at Kaspersky Lab
, "People used to say that Apple computers, unlike Windows PCs, can't ever be infected - but it's a myth."
Unfortunately many Mac users don't realize that, faithfully believing that Apple is delivering them superior protection. Sadly their faith is misplaced.
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
Wrath of the Titans: Microsoft, U.S. Feds Slay Godly "Zeus" Botnets
March 26, 2012, 3:21 PM
Windows 8 Looks to Ditch the "Zombie" Security Restarts of Windows 7
November 15, 2011, 4:38 PM
Developer Demonstrates Serious Security Breach in iOS, Apple Bans His Account
November 8, 2011, 9:06 AM
"Devil Robber" Trojan Infects Macs, Leeches Their GPUs for Bitcoin Profit
November 1, 2011, 10:59 AM
Analysts: Apple Now Has More Than 10 Percent of the U.S. PC Market
July 14, 2011, 1:52 PM
Apple Watch NikeLab Limited Edition unveiled.
April 22, 2017, 6:20 AM
What is the Apple’s iPhone 8 specifications and release date?
April 14, 2017, 5:43 AM
Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 tablet with Hexa –Core SoC, Android Marshmallow
April 6, 2017, 6:40 AM
Vivo launches V5 Plus IPL edition smartphone
April 4, 2017, 11:10 AM
Samsung S8 and S8 Plus: On Sale April 21 at Major Wireless Dealers
March 30, 2017, 7:35 AM
Are You in the Market for Earphones?
March 24, 2017, 7:35 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 – A Premium Laptop featuring 7th Gen Intel Core i7 in a 2-in-1 Frame.
April 19, 2017, 7:45 AM
Tesla will announce electric lorry in September
April 19, 2017, 6:20 AM
SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 580 8GD5 – Great Value for the Money
April 20, 2017, 7:47 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus – Lots of Glass that Breaks Easily
Apr 25, 2017, 7:20 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
Apple iPhones Will Soon Feature Graphics Chips Designed BY Apple
Apr 3, 2017, 6:23 AM
AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors Performance
Apr 2, 2017, 6:30 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information