Sophos trumpets so-called Mac vulnerabilities in attempt to sell so-called security software

“Have you ever had an auto mechanic you didn’t quite trust tell you that your car needed a repair ‘just to be on the safe side?’ The latest alarm bell from U.K.-based security software firm Sophos reminds me of just such a circumstance,” David Zeiler blogs for The Baltimore Sun.

“Last week Sophos announced results of a self-admittedly unscientific poll conducted on the company’s Web site. Of the 350 people who responded, 93 percent said they believed the Mac will be targeted more in the future, up from 79 percent two years ago,” Zeiler reports. “This follows January’s annual ‘Security Threat Report’ from Sophos that devoted an entire page to the ‘rise of malware for Apple Mac computers.’ The discussion centers on the OSX/RSPlug Trojan that emerged last November.”

“Some of you may recall that Trojan – only a series of poor user decisions (starting with visiting the porn sites where the Trojan was found) can result in a compromised Mac. It does not exploit any vulnerability in the Mac operating system or software,” Zeiler reports. “The OSX/RSPlug does not destroy data on a Mac, nor can it spread from Mac to Mac as a virus would. Instead it changes some network settings to redirect the user’s Web browser to fraudulent sites designed to fool users into punching in such personal information as credit card or bank account numbers (otherwise known as ‘phishing’).”

“Sophos was one of the companies to make a big deal out of OSX/RSPlug when it was first detected, trumpeting how Mac users of its security software were protected,” Zeiler reports. “That’s right, Sophos makes Mac versions of its security software, so it’s no shock the company would have strategies to, uh, encourage sales.”

“If someday a particularly gifted hacker succeeds in creating a self-perpetrating bit of OS X malware, I will be among the first to buy and install security software on my Macs,” Zeiler writes. “But not until.”

More in the full article here.

We’re going to turn off our Mac OS X Firewalls for the rest of the day in honor of Sophos… Oh, wait, they’ve been off since the last time one of these A-hole companies cried wolf. Smirk.

46 Comments

  1. I’m sure the hacker that writes a virus for Mac OS X will become world famous.
    I’m also sure the companies that sell the security software are working on it too. How best to sell security software, find a virus.

  2. I had a firewall up, but the latest Leopard requires me to “Allow all incoming connections” and to trust Mac OS X to determine which programs to allow. I had to do this to get my Slingplayer software to work over the WAN, but when I tried to specifically allow my Sling app, it wouldn’t work.

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