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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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It's a sad state...
By In2Boost on 12/10/2012 1:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
...that this thread immediately turned into a trans discussion versus the topic at hand. Maybe that was Jason's intent?

The one thing this shows, save for the fact a transwoman has accepted a position with a firm that most of us (let's face it) couldn't get a phone interview for, based on her talents and skills, is that there are an awful LOT of respondents that are very misinformed and really do not understand what they're talking about, though their opinions are fervently strong and unshakable.

What's funny is how people write or say, "I have no problem with it, but..." Yeah. Gotta love the "but," even if it's not physically typed in. No one is asking you if you agree with it as it applies to your own person. Unless you're trans yourself, it probably won't! Most of the replies seem to be constructed that way.

What we need to accept, to begin to understand, is that being trans is NOT a choice. Period. It is a M-E-D-I-C-A-L condition, NOT psychological, believe it or not. If you don't - research it, take a class from an accredited institution.

Without getting into an existential discussion of what constitutes gender identity, how many of us have really, really thought about the biology of birth and the modicum of environmental factors affecting the gestation process?

I think once we, as a society, wake up and realize that things aren't always either A or B, we'll be one step closer to having the majority of comments on a board like this be focused on the topic at hand versus the woman subject's identity and past.

Her hiring shows that Apple now has an expert that will hopefully bring in some new ideas to help Apple, and its customers.

RE: It's a sad state...
By superstition on 12/11/2012 3:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
A "trans discussion" is preferable to the 7 year old level mockery.

And, frankly, a lot of 7 year olds are more mature than that.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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