Does Apple’s Mac OS X face security threat due to iPhone?

“The iPhone — Apple’s first cellphone — could leave the company facing problems it has never dealt with once the device is launched in the U.S., according to security, mobile communications and computer experts who spoke with CBC News Online,” Saleem Khan reports for CBC News.

Khan reports, “The Cupertino, Calif.-based company may have to contend with attacks on its Mac OS X operating system software that it has previously escaped because relatively few computer users work on Apple machines, according to David Marcus of McAfee Inc.’s Avert Labs.”

Khan reports, “Because malware authors prefer to hit as many victims as possible with their creations, the roughly nine to 10 per cent of worldwide computer users who use Apple’s Mac OS operating system have been largely unscathed by viruses, exploitation of vulnerabilities and other malicious attacks and malware that have plagued Microsoft Corp.’s rival Windows operating system over the years, Marcus said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Specious gobbledygook. The “Security via Obscurity” myth is alive and well at McAfee, we see. Would David Marcus please explain to us, if his theory is correct, why there exists a proof-of-concept virus called “Podloso” that targets only Apple iPods with Linux installed – whose user-base is infinitesimally miniscule?

There are 23+ million Mac OS X users currently. Mac OS X has been in use for over 6 years. Mac OS X is not “obscure” at all, so the “Security via Obscurity” myth can’t stand up to even the most basic application of logic. You cannot be secure due to obscurity when you aren’t obscure and, as we see from the “Podloso” virus, you can be totally obscure and still be insecure. Shouldn’t an antivirus peddler be able to recognize such obvious facts? Perhaps he does. Maybe he’s just trying to sell AV software by propagating illogical FUD?

Khan continues, “…An executive at computer security firm Symantec Corp. — a McAfee rival — said he does not foresee security problems in the near future.” Paul Miller managing director for mobile security at Symantec said that “speculation about the risks Apple might face with the introduction of the iPhone could be seen as irresponsible. ‘It would be ill-advised for any group to make statements,’ he said.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Blaine B” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: There are zero-percent (0%) of viruses for the Mac OS X platform that should, logically, have some 10-16% of the world’s viruses if platforms’ install bases dictate the numbers of viruses. The fact that Mac OS X has zero (0) viruses totally discounts “security via obscurity.” There should be at least some Mac OS X viruses. There are none. The reason for this fact is not attributable solely to “obscurity,” it’s attributable to superior security design.

54 Comments

  1. Using OS X as its operating system, there is no reason why the built-in firewall and other securities wouldn’t also be included. In fact, the high level of security that UNIX inherently offers would make it far less prone to invasion than any other digital communication device; another good reason to buy the iPhone.

  2. The first in-the-wild, self-replicating, autonomous virus for the Mac platform will generate OVERWHELMING, INCOMPARABLE publicity for its author, somthing this reporter (Saleem Khan?) knows all too well.

    His specious “obscurity” argument is but a pathetic attempt to explain away Microsloth’s criminal ineptitude in OS design. Period.

  3. Khan reports, “The Cupertino, Calif.-based company may have to contend with attacks on its Mac OS X operating system software that it has previously escaped because relatively few computer users work on Apple machines

    Why? If all software has to be screened through Apple (3rd party software) then Apple’s already nipped this in the bud. And gotten flamed for doing so. Why will there necessarily be viruses on iPhone?

  4. I don’t understand why people say b/c a lot less people use mac so therefore a lot less people will make viruses for it. Well.. seeing as it’s been more than 5 years since OSX…you would think that people will look at it as a “challenge” and want to BE the FIRST. Still hasn’t happened.

  5. “Apple faces security threat with iPhone” is the title of this article, based apparently solely on MacAfee’s assertion that it is so. But why wasn’t the title “Allegation of iPhone security threat deemed irresponsible”? Well, which headline do you think would sell more copy?

    Cynical of me? Oh, but I <b>am,/b> a cynic!

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