Eureka! Macs Are Not Invulnerable

By Lance Ulanoff  |  Posted 2003-12-10 Print this article Print

There's guilty pleasure in the discovery of a serious security hole in the Mac OS.

I know this is wrong, but in one respect I was happy to learn earlier this month about the discovery of a significant security hole in the Jaguar and Panther versions (10.2 and 10.3, respectively) of the Apple operating system. I was tired of the "We use Macs because they dont get attacked by viruses and hackers" refrain from Mac nuts. I generally counter with what is apparently a secret carefully hidden from Mac zealots: "Thats because only a fraction of the world uses Macs. Whats the point of attacking a niche market? No one will notice!" But the mindlessly superior retort is always the same, "No, its because the Apple OS does not have the same holes as Windows. OS X is just a better operating system." Given this recent development, my question is, "Will you be stuffing that superior attitude in your crow or eating it separately, sir?"

This is a significant hole. The original report, found on puts a frightening spin on the problem: "A series of seemingly innocuous default settings can cause an affected Mac OS X machine to trust a malicious machine on a network for user, group, and volume mounting settings." So an attacker who can gain access to your network—over a wired connection or wirelessly—can trick an affected system into trusting a rogue machine, and when the compromised machine reboots, take it over and even attack other systems on the network.

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Lance Ulanoff is Editor in Chief and VP of Content for PC Magazine Network, and brings with him over 20 years journalism experience, the last 16 of which he has spent in the computer technology publishing industry.

He began his career as a weekly newspaper reporter before joining a national trade publication, traveling the country covering product distribution and data processing issues. In 1991 he joined PC Magazine where he spent five years writing and managing feature stories and reviews, covering a wide range of topics, including books and diverse technologies such as graphics hardware and software, office applications, operating systems and, tech news. He left as a senior associate editor in 1996 to enter the online arena as online editor at HomePC magazine, a popular consumer computing publication. While there, Ulanoff launched, and and wrote about Web sites and Web-site building.

In 1998 he joined Windows Magazine as the senior editor for online, spearheading the popular magazine's Web site, which drew some 6 million page views per month. He also wrote numerous product reviews and features covering all aspects of the computing world. During his tenure, won the Computer Press Association's prestigious runner-up prize for Best Overall Website.

In August 1999, Ulanoff briefly left publishing to join as producer for the Computing and Consumer Electronics channels and then was promoted to the site's senior director for content. He returned to PC Magazine in November 2000 and relaunched in July 2001. The new was named runner-up for Best Web Sites at the American Business Media's Annual Neal Awards in March 2002 and won a Best Web Site Award from the ASBPE in 2004. Under his direction, regularly generated more than 25 million page views a month and reached nearly 5 million monthly unique visitors in 2005.

For the last year and a half, Ulanoff has served as Editor, Reviews, PC Magazine. In that role he has overseen all product and review coverage for PC Magazine and, as well as managed PC Labs. He also writes a popular weekly technology column for and his column also appears in PC Magazine.

Recognized as an expert in the technology arena, Lance makes frequent appearances on local, national and international news programs including New York's Eyewitness News, NewsChannel 4, CNN, CNN HN, CNBC, MSNBC, Good Morning America Weekend Edition, and BBC, as well as being a regular guest on FoxNews' Studio B with Shepard Smith. He has also offered commentary on National Public Radio and been interviewed by radio stations around the country. Lance has been an invited guest speaker at numerous technology conferences including Digital Life, RoboBusiness, RoboNexus, Business Foresight and Digital Media Wire's Games and Mobile Forum.

Lance also serves as co-host of PC Magazine's weekly podcast, PCMag Radio.


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