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Alcoholics Anonymous says the first step to recover is to admit you have a problem

Black Hat's sister conference DEF CON already scored an intriguing high-profile keynote speaker -- General Keith Alexander, head of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command.  Now Black Hat has an equally surprising keynote of its own from the corporate sector -- a top executive from Apple, Inc. (AAPL).

Apple's talk will be given by Dallas De Atley, manager of Apple’s platform security team -- a team responsible for security both Apple's iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and OS X operating systems.

For years, Apple enjoyed one of the positives of having a small market share and proprietary operating system -- general disinterest via cybercriminals.  But rather than take this safety for what it was  -- safety via obscurity -- Apple instead told customers that its machines were never hacked because their security was lightyears ahead of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT).

Security researchers called this a baldfaced lie.  In fact, some say Apple is 10 years behind Microsoft.  Indeed, while Apple security researchers have long reportedly lurked incognito at DEF CON and Black Hat, they did not venture to give a talk until 2008 -- ten years after Microsoft's first (1998) presentation at the conventions.

Black Hat
Apple's first Black Hat talk comes after marketing scuttled a 2008 keynote.
[Image Source: Cult of Mac]

And Apple's late arrival was quickly scuttled by Apple's marketing folks who feared a public relations disaster.  After all, they had been pitching for years that Macs were "magical" and immune to "PC viruses".

Lately, however, OS X has been besieged by malicious Trojans -- first with the fake anti-virus program MacDefender, then Flashback, a fake Flash player update that infected 600,000 Macs.  To make matters worse, a memo leaked from Apple public relations to store employees suggesting they lie to customers about the existence of MacDefender.

Trojan horse
Macs are increasingly the target of Trojans.  Malware writers love Apple's
sluggish pace of patching. [Image Source: Venitism]

The issue for Apple was that with 10 percent of the market and a demographic of relatively affluent users, Apple was starting to become a worthwhile target.  And it struggled with this new breed of OS X-centric malware.

Even Apple's marketing team was forced to reword their marketing amid a rash of infections, perhaps fearing user lawsuits.

Apple's reappearance at Black Hat is significant as it represents Apple marketing's silent acknowledgement that keeping customers in the dark about security threats is no longer a viable option.  With mass media frequently seizing on reports of new malware or security holes in iOS and OS X, Apple is back at Black Hat, much as Microsoft was in 1998 -- looking to turn over a new leaf.

Hopefully this year they won't get cold feet.

Sources: Black Hat, Bloomberg



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RE: Welcome to the show...
By Motoman on 7/25/2012 10:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
Nah, it's still pretty much an afterthought. Worldwide installed base is still about ~5% of all personal computers. Still statistically insignificant - and almost certainly always will be.

It is highly entertaining though to see Apple have to go through this though, after years of their mindless propaganda and storytelling.


RE: Welcome to the show...
By Strunf on 7/25/2012 11:30:49 AM , Rating: 2
It may be 5% but it's a very nice 5%, on average Mac users are by far wealthier than windows users so even if the number of potential targets is smaller the rewards are much higher, not too mention that Apples cultivates the idea they are fireproof and hence their users may feel safer enough to store just about anything on their computers without even caring for security.


RE: Welcome to the show...
By Apone on 7/25/2012 12:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Mac users are by far wealthier than windows users....


Agreed however I know many non-rich people who will starve, sell a kidney, or otherwise compromise their way of life just to get their hands on a $2000+ Macbook...


RE: Welcome to the show...
By momorere on 7/25/2012 1:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
Oh how I love the typical holier-than-thou Apple fanatic's view of the world. Not only are you "richer" but you are "smarter" and more "sophisticated" but you are also just "better people". All hail Apple and it's sheeple


RE: Welcome to the show...
By Mitch101 on 7/25/2012 2:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
Apple computers cost much more than a PC and would not be found in lower class societies where the education system would be lacking compared to the middle and upper class areas who would have higher income and a better education system.

Its not that Apple users are smarter its that Apples aren't affordable enough for lower income families.

Which makes comments of Apple users being richer and smarter just that of ignorance, arrogance, or future apple factory workers.


RE: Welcome to the show...
By momorere on 7/25/2012 3:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever read any article about Apple posted on Yahoo ? I know this site's users have much more knowledge of technology but the average joe or jane only reads stuff posted by Yahoo and the such. Apparently not. Anytime that anyone says anything negative about or towards Apple, the #1 response is "do you hate Apple because you can't afford one ?" The that is followed up by how stupid Android users are then they start talking about how poor Android users are yet again. I would be homeless before I ever worked for Apple.

Their products aren't even allowed in my house. That's right my house that I paid 75% of it as a down payment. For some reason I paid payments for 1 year before deciding to go ahead and pay it off with a check that is far greater than most people make in a year. I also have 2 new cars I paid CASH for. It's fantastic having no monthly bills minus utilities. Not bad for a "poor and non-college graduate" Android user huh ? Oh yeah I this was accomplished before my 29th birthday.

So, have fun paying $600 for every "new" iPhone release while being in debt otherwise.


RE: Welcome to the show...
By testerguy on 7/26/2012 8:53:16 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Anytime that anyone says anything negative about or towards Apple, the #1 response is "do you hate Apple because you can't afford one ?"


Honestly never seen that response on Yahoo.

If I did see such a response, I wouldn't be so mind-numbingly stupid to generalise about a whole companies market based on it, though.

quote:
I would be homeless before I ever worked for Apple.


Do you think insane and ridiculous irrationality lends any credence to your points?

quote:
Their products aren't even allowed in my house. That's right my house that I paid 75% of it as a down payment. For some reason I paid payments for 1 year before deciding to go ahead and pay it off with a check that is far greater than most people make in a year. I also have 2 new cars I paid CASH for. It's fantastic having no monthly bills minus utilities. Not bad for a "poor and non-college graduate" Android user huh ? Oh yeah I this was accomplished before my 29th birthday.


Despite the epic and transparent insecurity you demonstrate, why do you think that for you, there aren't thousands of better off, far more successful, younger people (such as myself), who own Apple products? I don't find anything particularly impressive in your claims, in fact if anything the fact you think that owning a house and cars sets you apart suggests to me a distinct lack of success and failed networking.

Of course, the overriding point is that you are a statistical irrelevance. Android users are, according to surveys, less educated and earn less money. That is a statistical fact, it's a proven correlation.

Whether or not there is causation or not is a matter for debate, but the correlation is not.


RE: Welcome to the show...
By momorere on 7/26/2012 11:12:26 AM , Rating: 2
Nice try Tony personae #2 but you yet fail again to prove anything besides your relentless love of Apple. I distinctively remember you in another thread stating how you aren't anti-Android but you only try to tell the "truth" to all. Yet, I have NEVER read anything from you remotely saying anything negative about Apple. It's actually really really sad that you had to create another personality to try and further your pathetic pro-Apple agenda.

i understand that this is the internet and everyone tries to one-up each other but my God, Apple fanatics are by far the worst ever. Of course, you being an Apple sheep, you would just so happen to be "younger and more successful" than me due to your superior linguistics, higher education, lavish lifestyle, and your overall just a better people than all others.

I'm not a hardcore Android user or ever intend to be due to the fact that the Nexus 7 is the first and last "smart" device I will ever own. It is a fantastic product but the whole tablet/phone genre is just much too underpowered for my tastes. Good luck to you in your future endeavors with the whole Apple thing as we all know this is just the beginning of the end of their "rule" of the mobile space. I really look forward to using all of my points to downgrade each and every one of your personae's comments in future articles regarding Apple.


RE: Welcome to the show...
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/28/2012 10:15:04 PM , Rating: 1
You really are a mental fucking nut case and this post proves it.

quote:
I wouldn't be so mind-numbingly stupid
The fact is... you are.

quote:
I don't find anything particularly impressive in your claims, in fact if anything the fact you think that owning a house and cars sets you apart suggests to me a distinct lack of success and failed networking.
Huh? He paid off his house with money he had available yet he isn't successful? And you come to this conclusion how? Oh, that's right, your brain is a fucking mental mesh of mush. My god you are a moron.


“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs














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