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:
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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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  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. …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.

  4. 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”.

  5. Damn straight, Mac users are stupid! They don’t understand that they need McAfee (etc) to protect them from dangers nobody yet understands! Get their software and you’ll be protected against SIDS and Bird Flu … ya cheap-assed dummies!

  6. It is true that every documented Mac OS X threat has been written by an anti virus software company.

    I wonder how many they have written for the Windows side.

    Protection racket in every sense of the phrase.

  7. Why, exactly, MDN, do you ascribe all malice to Microsoft while believing that Intel is perfect? Microsoft and Intel were joined from sternum to hip for years. After extensive surgery, they are now joined from the lower sternum to the upper hip.

    This team was not and is not good at security. Consider the following:

    “Specific Windows buffer overflow vulnerabilities depend on the rigid stack-order execution and limited page protection inherent in the x86 architecture.” —Paul Murphy

    Intel has added hardware protection to reduce this threat, but rigid stack-order execution and limited page protection is rigid stack-order execution and, and x86 architecture is x86 architecture. And now we have got it. Do you know with absolute certainty that OS X has no buffer overflow issues?

    Don’t be too sanctimonious.

  8. I hear macs are also vulnerable to “coffee-level” threats

    You need purchase macafee’s 60 dollar coffee protection layer to make sure you don’t get any spills

    freaken ridiculus

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