News Analysis: Hackers have rewritten old Linux code to create a Trojan called Tsunami that attacks Apple Mac OS X computers. It's time to accept the fact that any operating system can be attacked by malware.
been hearing the stories for years about how Apple's Macintosh is immune to
malware. For years I've heard the smug claims from Mac owners about how it's
too bad that Windows users have to load their computers with antivirus software
to be safe, but Mac owners don't. For years I've known it was only a matter of
let's say it right now. There's no such thing as a malware-proof platform,
especially if that platform is somehow connected to the outside world. But even
networks isolated from the Internet
are no longer immune as the victims of
the Stuxnet worm can attest. The fact is the
Macintosh platform is highly vulnerable
, especially since relatively few
Macintosh users buy and use security software.
when security company Sophos revealed on Oct. 25 that a new
backdoor infection named Tsunami
had been detected in the wild, I wasn't
surprised. I mostly wondered what took so long.
reality, of course, is that malware writers look at market share when they're
creating their payloads, and Windows gives them the biggest bang for the buck.
But the Mac is growing in market share, so it's now worth some attention. This
is made more tempting to malware writers by the fact that relatively
few Macintosh computers are protected
against malware, so it's a very soft
Mac users, your time has come. You're going to have to plunk down the money and
deal with the lost CPU cycles like everyone else, unless you want some
botmaster in Lithuania to own your machine. But, of course, it's not just Macs.
For too long device owners have taken few if any precautions against malware
except on Windows computers. Owners of other devices, whether they're running
Linux or BSD or some other Unix-like OS, have assumed that they have no
exposure to malware.
the mobile market is even worse. Ask yourself what kind of protection you have
for your BlackBerry or your Android device or your iPad or iPhone. Chances are,
the answer is none. While there has been some movement in the Android world
after apps in the Android Marketplace were found to contain malware, relatively
few Android devices are delivered with anti-malware apps. Worse, the companies
selling such apps aren't reporting huge sales, and that's too bad.
the Apple App Store and BlackBerry AppWorld are tightly controlled, so owners
tend to assume that they don't have to worry about malware-infected apps
showing up on their devices, and in that sense, they're correct.