McAfee blows more smoke, says Intel Macs vulnerable to ‘chip-level’ threats

“Researchers have claimed that ‘chip-level threats’ pose a potential problem for Intel-powered Mac systems. A chip-level attack targets a feature or vulnerability in the processor rather than attacking software as is the case with nearly all today’s security threats,” Tom Sanders reports for “Examples of chip-level attacks are rare. The last known serious outbreak dates back to 1998, when the CIH/Chernobyl virus embedded itself into the flash-BIOS of infected systems.”

“Security vendor McAfee said in a recent white paper about security challenges for Apple systems that chip-level threats are a potential problem now that Apple has switched to Intel chips. But the firm admitted that there are no examples of such attacks,” Sanders reports. “The cautionary white paper was published on the same day that McAfee launched a version of its security software for Intel-based systems.”

“Despite the fact that Apple computers and traditional PCs run on Intel chips the features of those chips tend to change frequently, so there is no guarantee that an attack that works on one Intel Mac will succeed in targeting another,” Sanders reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: In related news, McAfee also warned Windows PC users that if they continue to switch to Macs, McAfee will be forced to resort to even more egregious nonsense before the company files Chapter 11. McAfee thinks Mac users are stupid. Mac users should not buy anything from McAfee or Symantec (please see related articles below).

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Symantec CEO: We think more people ought to buy Apple Macs – May 15, 2006
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Network World: Apple’s Mac OS X is significantly more secure than Windows – May 01, 2006
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FUD Alert: Viruses don’t catch up to the Mac – May 01, 2006
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BusinessWeek: Apple should hire security czar to combat uninformed media FUD – March 09, 2006
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  1. Isn’t this sort of thing illegal?

    How can these guys get away with the FUD. Gullible twits will believe what they say. It amounts to false advertising to seel their products. Naughty naughty…

  2. MDN’s take is seconded here… Please, any new switchers to Mac who have found this site and are considering purchasing anti-virus software – don’t waste your money. It’s utterly unnecessary, proven to slow your system down, as well as introduce security threats not present in OS X itself. McAfee are selling the emperor’s new clothes and should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. You gotta feel sorry for them. They have done a great job filling in where others did not.

    From what I am reading, they are all freaked out because MS supposedly has developed security for Vista? But from what I am also reading is that the security is such a bastardization of human interactive design that most users will probably turn it off (that is my favorite part – if our security software is to complicated for the average home user, just turn it off). Then most users how are already used to McAfee will continue to use them.

    It is sad that they resort to fear mongering though on the Mac platform. It truly shows a company that is aware of it’s own demise.

  4. Sounds like the empty threats and alarms our government warns us of…

    “..a credible threat, but we don’t know by who, what, where or when…and we don’t have any proof, just be afraid and trust us”

    Mafia tactics.

  5. Holy cow…

    You know, realistically, none of this kind of b.s. is going to go away until the pc market place is in somekind of real equalibrium, better balance. Until Windows is percieved as just another OS product, as opposed to THE OS product for running personal computers, this, everybody’s-gotta-be-on-the-same-page-using-the-same-OS-running from the same viruses at the same time, thing, isn’t going to change.

    MS and its Windows product sold the world on the idea that we can’t live without them/it, now they’ve got us by the private parts and they literally dictate how we work with computers, even whether or not we can have “safe” OS environments to work in.

    And if MS can get away with it, why can’t every other Mfg. of software products?

    By the way, who monitors companies that make security/anti-virus products? Anybody? How do we know for fact that these companies don’t actually do their part to perpetuate the problem?

  6. This is getting ridiculous, do these guys really fear the threat of the Mac? It seems like a total overreation on their part. I find these reports very sinister when you consider how prolific they are becoming and how little substance seems behind them. The whole computer industry seems hellbent on preserving the status quo rather than progressing and innovating.

  7. …Intel Macs vulnerable to ‘chip-level’ threats

    This is very true, all the new Intel chips have numerous unfound errors that must be worked around in the operating system.

    However it’s a job for Apple to fix and anti-malware software is a after effect if the problem doesn’t get fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

    So far the Metadata file exploit still isn’t fixed on Mac’s yet. I’m concerned this is still a highly used vector to get trojans to run on our machines.

    Will anti-malware stop metadata file exploits, no.

  8. Static Mesh,
    Are you sure you aren’t mixing up the errors that chips produce when crunching numbers with true exploits? What I’m talking about are the error numbers that the company releases whenever a new chip is debuted (usually in the range of 30-60). Although, I must admit I’m not sure if this is per clock cycle or for a standard test “set”.

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