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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 Pirks on 8/4/2006 8:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
2 roughly equally specced laptops
Care to provide sie and weight of both? And maybe include some interesting stuff from MacBook Pro that you "forgot", like keyboard backlight, free fall sensor, web camera etc etc?

See, some people, like most AT readers, work purely with numbers - this is 2GHz and that is 3GHz, so the latter rocks and the former sucks. End of story. However, we live in the world where most of the population don't read AT and they also differ from you and me in many ways, so what do these people do? They like to compare not only GHz but also how the thing feels in work. So they come to a store, compare bulky Dell with thin light MacBook Pro and voila - another convert appears out there, the guy who dared to pay for such meager thing as size and weight... come on guys, just look at him! He just paid extra 200 pounds because his MacBook is lighet and thinner than Dell, and has this stupid keyboard backlight, jeez he stupid! And all AT forum will say "YEAH SUCKER" and then mod you up 'cause you're soo cool. But, the deal is - you guys are only 1% of the population, and the other 99% dares also to look at such blasphemous nooby parameters as weight, comfort and so on... yeah, too bad the world is not all about GHz - but people here will learn about it, maybe the hard way, but they will, sooner or later.
Apple are going to start hitting the point where, although they are selling more laptops, and possibly the real number of people buying them is growing as fast as before, it certainly won't continue doubling each year.
I never said it would be doubling every year forever and ever - I said "for several years". Maybe just two years and maybe the second year would be not pure double but closer to say 1.8 or 1.7 - nobody knows the future, but rapid Apple market share growth is only accelerating recently, I expect it to accelerate even more after Jobs will tease everyone with some sexy Leopard coolness and then deliver Conroe and Merom based Macs and maybe a megabomb like a Woodcrest-based Mac Pro. Sure, it will slow down later, but my guess it's not gonna happen before two years pass - Apple bug is on the rise and Vista does not look like a proper cure to me... I thought maybe they can stay on top with DX10 and WinFS but after WinFS was killed and after I read about Transgaming and Cider I now dounbt even that is gonna protect Vista after Leopard is out. Hehe, sounds like a wild life report :-)))

RE: Amen
By ksherman on 8/4/2006 9:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
Apple has recently been relativly successful. They do have some very competetively priced models, such as the mini, macbook/pro, and the iMac. I think their desktops are a pure waste of money. Sure they are in a pretty case, sure they have two dual core processors, but as I mentioned in a post earlier in this bout of news, they are severly lacking in almost EVERY other category. (Seriously, who buys a computer with a base cost of $3200USD that only has 250GB HD, 512MB of RAM, and a 6600 video card. thats just nuts... IMO anyway.

I think Apple will have a very difficult time increasing market share NEARLY as much as you predict. I am under the belief that Apple little house of cards is going to collapse reasonably soon. They hide behind this aura of flawless security. Its only a matter of time before OSX gets their viruses/hacks/exploits etc... make no mistake, it WILL. thats just life. Does that mean the security is like a slice of swiss cheese as Windows is/was? It is arguably more secure because, IMO OSX has a very small market share compared to the likes of MS, so they arent target as much.

As Apple gets further and further into the spot light, all their ignorant claims of superiority are going to fall. ANY report that says that a Mac has a vulnerability is going to me magnified in signifigance. Their compys can run windows now, great, super cool. But that also carries with it the security flaws that users were trying to get away from. Many of the "general" consumers will say, "Hey, i bought a Mac, im invulnerible to viruses and spy ware!! and I can run windows too!" are going to be terribly shocked when they start getting their favorite popups and the like. They will be angry, asking why they splurged for the price premium. It WILL happen, perhaps down the road, but it will. Apples Magic will fade a bit. I do agree the Jorbs and his crew do a good job of keeping us on the edge of our seat sometimes, at somepoint that will get old. Theres nothing like spending $1000+ on a computer that gets a whole new redesign every other year, or sooner. That will get old, albiet down the road.

If anything, what WILL help Apple's market share is their lappys. The MacBook is a super competetive laptop, being reasonably small and light, with decent battery life, superbe performance, and a good price to match it. If they put some type of dedicated graphics (like a 7300Go or the like) it would be a steal that their price. What Apple for sure needs to do is up the rez on their laptops, they are falling behind in that section. Their new desktops will help a lot too, as the Core2 is an INCREDIBLE process (obviously) and a TON of the users in the professional creative market will spend the dough on them and the new software to go with them. Not to mention, later this year they are likely to have a dual quad... which is just nutsy *drools*, and SUPER insanely expensive.

I am not an Apple hater, I am not a PC hater. I am one of those swing voters the politicians covet so much. I have only ever owned PCs, and I build them which makes me sympathetic to the cause of the PC. I also covet the Aluminum goodness of the PowerBook/MacBook Pro. Their are jsut damn sexy, but quite a bit outside my budget. I will thus compromise and go for a MacBook eventually, prolly next year when they get the SantaRosa based platform and the newer X1300 (or was it X3000?) Intel graphics... I also run OSX on my extra HD, just for fun.

well, thats enough out of me... Their is validity to both sides, but ultimately I feel that Apple users are due for a VERY rude awakening within the next year or so. I will pray for you ;-)

RE: Amen
By Pirks on 8/4/06, Rating: 0
RE: Amen
By ksherman on 8/4/2006 9:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
sherman, you're getting in the same old trap again and again - you compare modern desktop Wintels with ancient PowerPC Macs. When are you going to stop falling in the same manhole? Can't you see current Intel iMacs are VERY different both price-wise and feature-wise from old museum PPC PowerMacs? I don't even understand why you bother posting here comparing some museum Apple computers with modern Intel PCs - yeah, I CAN TOO compare Win 3.1 with Mac OS X 10.4.7 and you know what? Win 3.1 SUCKS! You don't buy my argument of comparing old technology to new one? THEN PLEASE DON'T USE SAME ARGUMENT YOURSELF, would you pleeaase??!

Those specs were still for shit when the Quad was released. Not enough hardware for the price, thats all im saying. You spend that much on a dell/alienware, you get a MUCH better Video Card/HD/Base RAM, even then (which was only about a year ago remember)

RE: Amen
By Pirks on 8/5/2006 1:30:22 AM , Rating: 1
Those specs were still for shit when the Quad was released. Not enough hardware for the price, thats all im saying.
Not enough hardware for PowerPC Quad? Excuse me? COULD YOU BUY PowerPC quad-core computer ANYWHERE ELSE BACK THEN? NO? Then put your sticker back and don't take it off until you understand this: "one can not compare apples and oranges, especially when there is one unique special apple (PPC Quad monster) and an ocean of similar looking oranges (your cheap beige Wintel PCs)"

Do you understand, sherman? You _can't_ compare them - they are WAY TOO DIFFERENT to be compared. Agreed?

If not - tell me why quad-core PPC computer is exactly the same as your standard issue Intel P4 Dell PC, gimme some solid technical arguments please. Thanks.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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