iPod, Xbox Cyber-Crime Threats Loom

By Paul F. Roberts  |  Posted 2006-01-23

Cyber-security and computer experts from the government and law enforcement are increasingly concerned about malicious code that runs on Linux and Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X operating systems and threats posed by devices such as iPods and Microsoft Corp. Xboxes.

Intensive courses on the Mac OS X and Linux operating systems, as well as on iPods, were just a few of the offerings at this months cyber-security conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. Network administrators and cyber-investigators said they are increasingly being called on to investigate compromises of non-Windows operating systems and to analyze portable devices such as iPods.

Innocuous devices such as the iPod Shuffle, a small, portable version of the massively popular MP3 player from Apple, are an example of the underappreciated threat, said Tyler Cohen, an instructor with the DODs Defense Computer Investigations Training Program, at the conference, in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Cohen showed attendees how the iPod Shuffle and other iPod products could be outfitted with a bootable distribution of the Linux operating system and a stripped-down version of the Metasploit Framework hacking tool and then used to break in to protected computers.

The MP3 players can be connected directly to computers and then used to copy and store gigabytes worth of files and other sensitive documents from those systems, Cohen told eWEEK.

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