Can Mac users rely on Apple to protect them from security threats?

Can Mac users rely on Apple to protect them from security threats?

Summary: An anonymous Info Sec researcher claims to have developed a fully automated and ready to use Mac OS X worm. How long can Mac users rely on Apple to protect them from security threats?


An anonymous Info Sec researcher claims to have developed a fully automated and ready to use Mac OS X worm.  How long can Mac users rely on Apple to protect them from security threats?

It comes as no surprise to me that Mac OS X, like any other large-scale coding project, contains bug.  Serious bugs.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a fantasy land.  But what bothers me about each and every Mac bug that's uncovered is how trusting the majority of Mac users are in the fact that Apple will be able to protect them against all future threats through the existing software update mechanism that is in place. 

Windows users have become used to the fact that they need third-party applications such as antivirus, firewall and antispyware applications to protect them from threats.  Yet as the Mac OS user base continues to grow, users still believe that they are getting ample protection from malware by Apple.  While the current number of  Apple bugs remains low this might well be the case, but it's now pretty obvious that both white and black hat researchers are turning their eye towards Mac OS and uncovering serious vulnerabilities of the kind that Microsoft has had to deal with for years.  While I have no doubt that Apple can cope with having to develop, test and deploy an increasing number of patches for security vulnerabilities, I wonder how long it will be before a certain segment of the Apple customer base will start turning to third-party security applications to put in place and added line of defense against malware.  These third-party applications do an important job of putting a temporary buffer in place to catch and contain malware until the vendor can issue a patch.  Apple might take a week or more to patch this latest vulnerability, security companies would have signatures in place to detect the worm within hours.  Love or hate security companies, this kind of insurance is nice to have.

The really scary thing is not that serious vulnerabilities are being discovered in Mac OS, it's the attitude that Mac users as a collective have to security.  The fact that more and more vulnerabilities are being uncovered doesn't seem to be making mac users question Apple's ability to protect them against emerging threats.


Topics: Security, Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems

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  • Yeah, you must really love shovin' that one down everyone's throats

    Funny a lot of your Mac posts are in regard to the blindness under Apple and the utter disregard Mac users have for security.

    Really, you should get out more and see REAL situations and companies that are Mac-based.

    "The really scary thing is not that serious vulnerabilities are being discovered in Mac OS, it?s the attitude that Mac users as a collective have to security."

    Oh, please tells more, oh wise Mac sage, thou art SO wise, We are but humble followers of the Queen.

    Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
    • You illustrate his point very well.

      • Please do illustrate

        My blindness toward Apple and the utter disregard I have for security.

        Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
        • Look at your post I responded to.

          You're welcome.
          • Uh, yeah, you're still not making sense

            move along...
            Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Give it a rest will you Ye .

        You yourself proclaim that you are a Mac user also . Are Ye not ? I for one am not laxed when it come to security and my PPC Power Macintosh . I don't live in a fantasy , I have ClamX AV & a firewall , but that is not my first line of defense . I also have a router with a built-in firewall & many other useful features . I'll leave it at that , I wouldn't want to educate any hackers/crackers abound here on ZDNET .
        • Actually, you are one of the lucky ones...

          That PPC Power Mac doesn't suffer the blight of x86...
          • Actually, you are one of the lucky ones...

            But, one has to remember now That apple has taken the bullet and is now usin Intel x86 chips now. We are now subject to anything that can be writtenfor x86 now.
    • Re: "you should get out more and see [...] companies that are Mac-based"

      Needle and haystack come to mind...
      • Not really.....

        I've worked for a great many companies that use both. PC's usually for what I would
        call mundane work and Mac's for graphic design and such. The company I work for
        presently has both. Roughly 250 PC's and 175 Mac's. It's not that hard to find a Mac
        in the business world today.

        Pagan jim
        • Not for you

          But you are in a minority. Graphics and design oriented businesses may be a bastion for Apple, but by and large it's very hard to find a company with Mac clients. This is just my experience, but it seems to be shared by many others. <br>
          There was one company across the river that had a few dozen Macs in one part of the marketing dept. The rest of the place (around 10K) are using PCs. And recently they moved away from the Macs to a proprietary system....oops....i mean another proprietary system.
          • Well you might be right or you might have been right

            in the past. But with articles like the one where the Auto supply dealership
            switched to the Mac and Java based applications I don't think it's as true as it once
            was and things they still are a changing. Mac's can do it all remember Linux,
            Windows and OSX so graphic design, film editing though cool and prosperous are
            not the only venue for Mac's there is a strong pressence in scientific applications
            hense her Unix underpinings and such. Now "business" is paying more attention
            and strangely enough one of the reasons beyond Unix are items like the iPod and
            iPhone. Of course products like the Xservers help as wel. Those babies are

            Pagan jim
          • Might have grown in fractions.

            Nothing you would not expect from a company nearing it's 40th anniversay though, you think? I would have to believe as great as Macs are, based on posts by many Apple users including yourself, 6% over 40 years would be more than expected, no?
            Well, about the iphone....i'm not so sure that's drawing the business crowd toward Apple. <br>
            Most knowledgable businessmen know that the best value is still with the PC. Built entirely by the same folks that build the Mac with increasingly better specs and designs, they get a machine that matches their network and their phones perfectly.
      • Whatever

        the point is most Mac users are not as clueless and idiotic as Adrian and others would have you believe. It's stories like this that perpetuate the issue. Were not all sitting around twiddling our thumbs, waiting for Apple to shelter us from the big bad internet. Are you sitting around waiting for Microsoft to protect you? I hope not.

        Just because you hear a rumor doesn't make it true.

        I have worked for a lot Mac-based companies and know a lot of Mac users and very rarely, if ever, seen the flippant attitudes portrayed in these blogs.

        Sure there aren't the thousands of Windows viruses on a Mac but I don't know anyone who wants to be the first to find their Mac has been compromised by one either.
        Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Do not feed the troll

  • Problems with the claim source

    Your basic premise is correct, many OS X users do view Apple with rose coloured glasses but I think there's some credibility issues with the anonymous security blogger as noted in the following link:
    • claim source

      OH Plaaaa-eeease, hit us with the worm if it's real. Anyone can claim anything they like till it happens it's all just some much HOT AIR!
  • Mac Users

    In case it wasn't clear by now, Mac users are universally complacent around
    security issues. We know this for a fact because they have not been hardened in
    the cauldron of malware abuse that Windows users have. Their complacency is
    simply an extension of this logic.

    By way of comparison, the security conscious person gravitates towards Windows.
    They prefer not to work within a limited user account. These people gravitate
    towards the platform with the substantially poorer security record. They also
    prefer to use anti malware programs, often, they like to stack up a few of them.
    These additional challenges and costs are all worthwhile to prevent the scourge of

    Mac users are also much more likely to be a member of the "stupid rich". They are
    likely dilettantes with more money than brains. They rely on Apple to protect them
    because they are weak. I'm going to say this again for emphasis, and I'm going to
    use all caps, so don't be alarmed... Mac users are WEAK.

    Mac users are also cultists, driven to subservience the subsonic chanting of Steve
    Jobs through massive speakers within the Cupertino complex. Last but not least, I
    have it on good authority that Mac users are all addicted to crack cocaine, they all
    lack dignity, and many often sleep without pajamas.
    Harry Bardal
    • Sleep without pajamas?!?

      Guilty as charged ;)
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Sleep without pajamas?!?

        Me too....... Oh Gadws the freedom!