May 27, 2017

Mac OS X Viral Infections

The Mac from Apple was long thought to be relatively safe from viruses and the like, but a new virus is worming its way through via iChat and it’s doing a good job. That was yesterday. Another proof of concept worm appeared today. This one gets in through Bluetooth.

Apple Not as Safe as You Think?
Apple Not as Safe as You Think?

UK-based software security firm Sophos published their finding on Thursday and now it’s the talk of the tech world. Today, Finnish-based F-Secure posted on their blog that a new worm, OSX/Inqtana.A is out there. The proof of concept has surfaced and it uses a Bluetooth OBEX Push vulnerability.

According to F-Secure’s blog, the worm has not surfaced in the wild and this particular worm’s lifespan will be short lived. They said it uses a Bluetooth library locked into a specific Bluetooth address and the library expires on February 24th of this year. They said it’s doubtful Inqtana.A would be any kind of threat. This takes us to the other point though.

Mac has been hacked. Someone climbed the mountain and got to the top and now the viruses will flow like water. Sophos just conducted a poll and their numbers say 79% of the 600 web poll respondents feel Macs will be targeted more in the future. The interesting point is that many of those polled didn’t feel the problem would be as great as for Windows.

“The bad news is that most people think the situation is going to get worse for Macintosh users, and more threats will be targeted against the Apple community. The good news is that most don’t believe it will ever be as big a problem as the one Microsoft Windows faces,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “What’s perhaps surprising is that there are a hardcore element of 21% who believe that threat attempts against Mac users will not grow.”

“The correct response is to remain calm and take sensible measures to protect your Mac computers in future,” continued Cluley. “The Leap-A worm isn’t in itself a significant threat, but it should act as a helpful reminder that malware can be written for any computer and that the best protection is through sensible best practise, firewalls, security patches and anti-virus technology. Mac users cannot keep thinking that they are invulnerable to these threats.”

Security Focus quoted Jay Beale, a senior security consultant for Intelguardians and expert in hardening Linux and Mac OS X systems last week at the ShmooCon, “This is almost certainly the year of the OS X exploit. The OS X platform may be based on a Unix platform, but Apple seems to be making mistakes that Unix made, and corrected, long ago.”

“On a good day, Apple doesn’t even make it to Microsoft’s level of security awareness,” Beale said.

This doesn’t bode well for the kids in Cupertino. If this does turn out to be the year of the OS X exploit, then things are going to get ugly. For over a decade, Windows has been at the top of the viral food chain because they completely dominate the computing landscape, particularly among the home user. Now, as hacking and viruses become more of an economic enterprise, all the operating systems are going to be more subject to assault.

For the longest time, Apple had the benefit of security through obscurity. Then this pesky little thing called an iPod came along, made Apple a part of pop culture again and in so doing increased the market share for Macs. It’s good for business but it also means they are higher profile and more of a target for various illicit enterprises. Apple’s going to really start burning the midnight oil to make sure they’re security is up to par. In the meantime, users need to make sure and keep their patches, definitions and other updates current.

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About John Stith 459 Articles
John is a staff writer for SecurityProNews covering cyber security.