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Pickup should boost Apple's recently struggling security efforts

Malware authors, who are finally taking note of the company’s operating system amid rising market share, have of late victimized Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  Amid struggles with malware -- mostly Trojans (programs that imitate real software or are carried by seemingly innocent webpages and trick users into installation) like MacDefender and Flashback -- the company has been scrutinized by security firms who suggest it needs help, and a more proactive stance on plug-in patching.

The highly profitable computer and digital device maker made a key step in the right direction this week, though, hiring Kristin Paget (formerly Chris Paget), according to a report by Wired.

Ms. Paget seems a natural fit for Apple.

She has said in past interviews that she is a "total Unix head" (OS X is Unix-like) and dislikes Windows.  And she's expressed an interest in hardware security.  When she left Recursion Ventures, her security firm, in July she expressed a desire to move away from bug-finding.  

Thus she may see her talents first applied to Apple's efforts to lock firmware hackers like George "GeoHot" Hotz out of Apple's iOS firmware.  Since the launch of the iPhone, Apple has been largely unable to stop such hackers from defeating its digital rights management scheme (via jailbreaking) and its network locking (via unlocking).  Apple has hired hackers in the past (most notably "Comex") to try to shore up its firmware, but the efforts have oft fizzled.

The new recruit, though, could fare better as she brings a long history of eye-opening security exploits.  In 2010 at DefCon hacker conference she set up a cell-phone intercepting station, a low-cost homebrew hardware setup that tricked towers into routing calls -- even encrypted ones -- through it, allowing conversations to be snooped on.

Kristin Paget
Kristin (formerly Chris) Paget led the bug finding hunt that helped dramatically improve the security of Windows Vista. [Image Source: Jean-Philippe Martin]

But Ms. Paget's most prestigious honor was delaying Windows Vista and in the process greatly improving its security.  In 2006 she was hired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to assist with the final development of Vista.  According to recent speeches, which she gave after her five-year non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Microsoft expired in 2011; Microsoft had expected a clean bill of health when they brought her onboard.

Instead, she and her team found a wealth of bugs.  She recalls, "We prevented a lot of bugs from shipping on Vista.  I’m proud of the number of bugs we found and helped get fixed."

The bug hunt was so successful that it forced Microsoft to delay Windows Vista.  Ms. Paget and her team received honorary shirts from Microsoft Vice President of Windows Development Brian Valentine that read: “I delayed Windows Vista.”

Windows Vista is widely viewed as a turning point in Microsoft's security history, paving ground for later 

Source: Wired



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Ms. Paget
By Tupoun on 12/7/2012 3:30:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ms. Paget seems a natural fit for Apple.


... now I finally understaaand!




RE: Ms. Paget
By momorere on 12/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: Ms. Paget
By OoklaTheMok on 12/7/2012 4:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously?!? Are these readers of DailyTech 12 years old?

It's stupid comments like these that make reading DailyTech an exercise of intellectual futility.


RE: Ms. Paget
By TakinYourPoints on 12/8/2012 1:05:10 AM , Rating: 2
There's a lot more than just this type of comment that makes your typical DT commentor so mind-numbing to read...


RE: Ms. Paget
By messele on 12/8/2012 5:11:42 AM , Rating: 2
Depressing isn't it...

It's the same old people who think its clever to bully those who are not like them, be it matters of gender, sexuality or choice of phone.

People like these are the reason we were denied the genius of Alan Turing at such a young age, and certainly countless others through incessant spite.


RE: Ms. Paget
By superstition on 12/10/2012 2:06:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Depressing isn't it... It's the same old people who think its clever to bully those who are not like them, be it matters of gender, sexuality or choice of phone. People like these are the reason we were denied the genius of Alan Turing at such a young age, and certainly countless others through incessant spite.


They're too ignorant to get it.


RE: Ms. Paget
By momorere on 12/8/2012 11:52:18 AM , Rating: 2
Aww sounds like i hurt all the Macolyte's feelings by talking negative about their faux deity. You crApple fanatics are just as bad as the muslims with your gods and doing/saying whatever it takes to defend them at all costs. CEOs of crApple AREN'T gods, hate to break it to you, but they are mortals just like the rest of us. All your love for Timmy doesn't change the fact that he is a flamer.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/out-power...

It is weird how the media portrays him as "powerful". I guess we have totally different definitions of powerful.


RE: Ms. Paget
By TakinYourPoints on 12/9/2012 12:27:41 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, has nothing to do with any of that. Nice to see that shameless homophobia is alive and well though.


RE: Ms. Paget
By superstition on 12/11/2012 3:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
Homophobia is the wrong word. That word embeds an excuse, as if it's somehow natural (like fear of heights).

I suppose ignorance is natural, but heterosexism is the real issue. Basically, it's the age-old desire that many people have to feel superior to others. Narcissism.


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