Print 26 comment(s) - last by Trisped.. on Jun 27 at 9:44 AM

  (Source: Apple)
Flashback forced Apple to amend its boasting

No one does marketing spin quite like Apple, Inc. (AAPL). Apple proudly promotes its OS X personal computer operating system on a special webpage describing supposed advantages of OS X.  A subsection of that page is devoted to braggadocio regarding security.  Writes Apple:

It doesn't get PC viruses.
A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers.  That's thanks to built-in defenses in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part.

The only problem with that comment is that of late Apple was hit by Flashback, a Trojan that struck hundreds of thousands Macs.  Unlike past Mac malware, the Trojan exploited a vulnerability also found in unpatched Windows machines.  But unlike OS X, Microsoft Windows' Java distribution had been patched months before.

After the wording was poked fun at by some critics, Apple begrudgingly changed it to:

It's built to be safe.
Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.

Apple also changes the humorous "Safeguard your data.  By doing nothing." to "Safety. Built right in."

OS X claims
[Image Source: Apple via Sophos Security]

It's nice to see Apple finally acknowledging that Macs are not immune to malware -- particularly at a time when the population of infected Macs is approaching that of Windows PCs on a percentage basis.  But it remains to be seen whether Apple's most zealous fans who long parroted its claims to frustrated Windows and Linux users take note.

Recent reports have indicated Apple is approximately a decade behind Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in security.

Source: Sophos

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RE: PC Virus?
By kleinma on 6/25/2012 6:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, it is targeting an OS. It might be using a 3rd party piece of software do get its foot in the door, but flashback was specifically targeting OSX. If it had been a Windows based virus, it simply would not have run on OSX, just like Flashback would not run on Windows, even if Java was not patched.

RE: PC Virus?
By Trisped on 6/27/2012 9:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
If it had been a Windows based virus, it simply would not have run on OSX...
This is of course incorrect. If you are exploiting a platform (like Java of Flash) or even a program which has access to the features you want, then it does not matter if you are infecting a MAC or PC. The problem is most platforms and applications do not have the desired access (root/admin) so the exploits require extra, platform specific code to achieve their goals.

The original statement by Apple about not running PC viruses was true, but mainly because Apple was using PowerPC processors instead of Intel. This meant that a PC virus could not even execute on a MAC without an emulator. Of course when Apple changed to Intel processors, management was too stupid to realize that their original statement was no longer true. As a result it was not changed until after a problem occurred.

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