Print 60 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Aug 7 at 7:35 PM

Security experts say poor driver design leaves doors wide open

Two security researchers from Black Hat this week revealed a method in which a MacBook can be broken into and taken control of. In fact, the intrusion method is at such a low level that even firewalls and anti-virus applications can't help. Based on flaws in wireless network driver design, Apple's line of MacBooks -- and MacBook Pros -- allows an attacker to remotely bypass the security of the laptop and the operating system.

Jon Ellch and David Maynor from Black Hat say that drivers for Apple's notebooks are developed not in house, but outside using contracted development companies. Ellch says that often times, these development people are under so much pressure from higher management to get working drivers so that companies can rush our products to market. Under circumstances like this, drivers for devices such as wireless network processors enter "the wild" in an untested state.

However, Mayner said that "we're not picking specifically on Macs here, but if you watch those 'Get a Mac' commercials enough, it eventually makes you want to stab one of those users in the eye with a lit cigarette or something." Mayner cites that many of Apple's commercials claim that Macs don't suffer from the same security vulnerabilities that PCs do but in fact, they do.

The team at Black Hat demonstrated that they could circumvent the Wi-Fi security and OS level security in a MacBook and within just 60 seconds, were able to take complete control of the machine. Black Hat demonstrated the technique through a pre-recorded video to prevent anyone from intercepting the wireless network traffic to deconstruct the attack and release it elsewhere. Black Hat said that it has been in contact with both Apple and Microsoft, because the vulnerability exists on both sides.

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RE: Amen
By TomZ on 8/4/2006 6:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, so you think Apple will reverse the trend of declining marketshare over the past 10 years and triple growth? Even Steve Jobs doent think that, and he's totally insane.

The way Apple could gain more market share going forward is to convince iPod/iTunes users to give up their PCs in favor of Macs. This is already happening, and I don't see any reason to believe that this will not continue to happen. At the moment, there's not anything all that interesting going on in the PC world, except for maybe the launch of Vista, and the value proposition for Vista is not really understood yet by consumers.

RE: Amen
By Pirks on 8/4/2006 8:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
the value proposition for Vista is not really understood yet by consumers
Could you please elaborate more on that "value proposition"? Everyone knows it's a refreshed version of Windows with new GUI and new version of DirectX, which does exactly the same stuff that XP was doing, it's just in a new skin. Granted, security is better, but it was better in XP service packs, so no major difference, it's rather incremental process. Do you mean something specific and not well-known when you say "value proposition for Vista"? Something we don't know, some hidden knowledge from MSDN?

RE: Amen
By TomZ on 8/4/2006 9:49:24 PM , Rating: 3
Could you please elaborate more on that "value proposition"?

Value proposition relates to marketing, more than technical. What I mean by that is, what will Microsoft tell potential customers about why they should embrace Vista. You start to see this here on their marketing web site:

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

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