Mac OS X 30 minute hack "woefully misleading"

Summary:There have been a number of salacious reports around the Web to the effect of "Mac OS X hacked in 30 minutes" based on the results of a University of Wisconsin competition in which hackers were challenged to hack into a Mac mini connected to the Internet.

There have been a number of salacious reports around the Web to the effect of "Mac OS X hacked in 30 minutes" based on the results of a competition in which hackers were challenged to hack into a Mac mini connected to the Internet. According to ZDNet Australia:

On February 22, a Sweden-based Mac enthusiast set his Mac Mini as a server and invited hackers to break through the computer's security and gain root control, which would allow the attacker to take charge of the computer and delete files and folders or install applications.
But according to vnunet.com:

A hacker by the name of Gwerdna claimed to ZDNet Australia that he won the competition. He boasted that the operating system was "easy pickings" and that it took him no more then 30 minutes. The story made headlines on Monday, but it incorrectly presented the break-in as a genuine hack where it should have been described as a privilege escalation for a legitimate user.

The latter is similar to breaking into a different user account while sitting behind a computer and is considered significantly easier then hacking into a fully protected system over the internet.

The failure to make that difference prompted Schroeder to call the ZDNet Australia report "woefully misleading".


Topics: Security

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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