Microsoft detects new malware targeting Office for Mac flaw, trots out Security via Obscurity myth

“Microsoft has detected a new piece of malware targeting Apple OS X computers that exploits a vulnerability in the Office productivity suite patched nearly three years ago,” Jeremy Kirk reports for IDG News Service.

“The malware is not widespread, wrote Jeong Wook Oh of Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center,” Kirk reports. “But it does show that hackers pay attention if it’s found people do not apply patches as those fixes are released, putting their computers at a higher risk of becoming infected.”

Kirk reports, “The exploit discovered by Microsoft doesn’t work with OS X Lion, but does work with Snow Leopard and prior versions… Microsoft advised those who use Microsoft Office 2004 or 2008 for Mac or the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac to ensure those products have applied the patch. ‘In conclusion, we can see that Mac OS X is not safe from malware,’ Oh wrote. ‘Statistically speaking, as this operating system gains in consumer usage, attacks on the platform will increase.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Statistically speaking, Microsoft makes crap software that we wouldn’t allow within a mile of our SSDs.

“Statistically speaking, as this operating system gains in consumer usage, attacks on the platform will increase.” Note the lack of the word “successful” before “attacks” in the Microsoft FUDster’s weak attempt at equivocation.

Yet again, for the umpteenth time — sigh — it is utterly illogical to state or imply that the Mac platform is secure via obscurity. Why, if obscurity means security, in April 2007 was there a virus for iPods running Linux (a few thousand devices total, to wildly overestimate, in all the world), but there are no viruses in eleven, yes eleven, years for the some 60 million Mac OS X computers that are currently online?

The idea that Windows’ morass of security woes exists because more people use Windows and that Macs have no security problems because fewer people use Macs, is simply not true. By design, Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows. Period. For reference and reasons why Mac OS X is more secure than Windows, The New York Times’ David Pogue, long ago providesd a concise mea culpa on the subject of the “Mac Security Via Obscurity” myth here.

“In conclusion, we can see that Mac OS X is not safe from malware” when you install Microsoft crapware.

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15 Comments

    1. I dont see any… 😉

      Now I love how microsoft… Shows a flaw in Microsoft products… And blames apple…

      Only ms (and it’s followers..) can be that stupid.

  1. Have you noted that latest Mac OS treats come form external companies and not from the OS X itself?
    those so called “Security” companies have to lear to differentiate from a “Insecure OS” from an “INSECURE SOFTWARE”
    90% of the treats in windows came from flaws in windows itself, not from third party applications.

    1. Troy, I scanned back through several months of Qualys weekly vulnerability reports and I’d have to guess that the number of bugs in Windows (all versions) versus Microsoft applications is about 20%/80%, and naturally even lower when compared against all apps for Windows.

  2. If Apple would make iWork just a bit more robust for enterprise, I would gladly toss Office. I have both suites, but the former has certain limitations in terms of file merging etc. Apple hasn’t paid much attention to iWork for Mac OS X in who knows how long.

  3. “putting their computers at a higher risk of being infected.”

    That’s so rich. First of all, unpatched means it’s at the *same* level of being infected as before. Secondly, installing Microsoft software is what put your computer at risk of infection. One might ask what privileges Microsoft installer asked of the user that allows for this and why they really need those privileges.

  4. “In conclusion, we can see that Mac OS X is not safe from malware”

    Microsoft fails so badly at programming that their software punches security holes in Mac OS X, and then they use it as ammunition to say “Look! OS X isn’t safe from malware!”?

    It isn’t safe from malware in this particular instance BECAUSE OF YOU INCOMPETENT ASSHOLES AND YOUR SHITTY SOFTWARE.

    Oh Jeongwook, you total and utter pabo.

  5. Another example of the stupidity of the ‘security through obscurity’ canard: The infamous Witty Worm spread through a population almost an order of magnitude smaller than that of previous worms, demonstrating the viability of worms as an automated mechanism to rapidly compromise machines on the Internet, even in niches without a software monopoly.

    Witty TOTALLY infected a world-wide susceptible population of just 12,000 systems in 45 minutes. Obscurity didn’t help those victims…

  6. Microsoft Office has yet-another security hole. Therefore, Microsoft FUD Apple security. Yeah, that makes sense. I swear they have lead in the water over at Redmond. 😯

    LUSER Syndrome:
    it does show that hackers pay attention if it’s found people do not apply patches as those fixes are released, putting their computers at a higher risk of becoming infected. This problem is rampant no matter WHAT computer platform. NOT Apple’s problem. It’s the USER’S problem. It is akin to social engineering. Some people just don’t understand best practices for computer security. That includes the #1 Rule of Computing: Make A Backup!

    Raw stinking bullshite:
    Statistically speaking, as this operating system gains in consumer usage, attacks on the platform will increase. NO. This myth began in 2005 when Symantec started the ongoing anti-Apple security FUD campaign. There is ZERO evidence of this happening to the Mac platform. That’s because Mac OS X UNIX is fundamentally safer than MS Windows, like it or not. No one said Mac OS X is perfect, dear FUD trolls. It is merely safer. THAT has actual statistical proof.

    Compare the current 82 active malware for Mac OS X with the well over 1000x MORE malware for Windows on a per user basis. This means that if both platforms had equal numbers of users, Windows statistically still has 1000x more malware. Now what does that SHOUT at you?

    Dear Anti-Apple FUD Mongerers:
    Please STFU and get lost. You too are LUSERS. 😛

  7. What 3rd party software attracts the most malware?

    1) Historically the longest offender is… Microsoft Office. Blame Microsoft, not Apple.

    2) Adobe Flash. Blame Adobe, not Apple.

    3) JavaScript. It used to be LiveScript, created by Netscape. Then Microsoft perpetrated JScript, creating major security vulnerabilities. Then Adobe joined in with ActionScript, adding further vulnerabilities. Does Apple have anything to do with JavaScript? NO.

    4) Java. How the frack Java went from being entirely safe on all platforms to being the single WORST malware vector for Mac is beyond my comprehension. Blame Oracle. Where Apple fell down was that they promised to keep Java SE 6 up-to-date for 10.6 and 10.7, but they failed with a lag of two months. THAT is Apple’s fault, but it is NOT Apple technology.

    So exactly what malware actually attacks Mac OS X? ZERO! The only way malware rats can get into Macs is either through one of the nasty 4 non-Apple technologies above OR via Trojan horses, which require LUSER behavior in order to be installed.

    Conclusion:
    Darn. No actual viral malware for Mac OS X itself. No rootkits. No hacking attacks. No cracking attacks. No viruses. No worms. It would be delusional to expect this to remain the case forever. But it points out that Mac OS X is indeed SAFER than Windows and even Linux. It pays to research the facts of the matter. FUD is worthless propaganda and nothing more.

    If you want a worthwhile FREE app to check for Mac malware, I suggest ClamXav. I personally have assisted in making the ClamAV project relevant and up-to-date for Mac users.

    Mac-Security @Blogspot

    1. so very true…

      Office, people should understand that Office is not only junk, but exactly what is stated above, virus/malware magnet.

      You have no idea how many time I have to explain the difference between a Virus and a Trojan horse to ignorant users. LUSER as you call them, I like it 🙂
      Virus=Software that Infects PC’s
      Trojan Horse=Software that Infects the USER, regardless of Platform.

      At least when it comes to security etc, I can’t find anything we disagree on.

      1. Kewl. BTW: ‘LUSER’ isn’t a term I invented. But sadly I find it to be the most descriptive for the phenomenon. My favorite example: If a computer user doesn’t make a regular backup, by definition they’re a LUSER. They are GOING to be caught losing data and people like me are going to be expected to conjure up a miracle to save their dead data. Yeah, we can make money off their newbie-ness, but that’s now how I roll. I’d rather everyone knew best practices and used them to save their own butts. Computers ≠ toasters.

  8. Plus! Anyone remember the old ‘Crack A Mac’ campaign?

    $10,000 to the first person to crack an unprotected OS 9 machine attached to a publicly accessible and well-publicised IP address.

    The Mac remained uncracked and the prize unclaimed.
    That was in the 1990’s.

    For 2012: ClamX AV will keep you very safe.

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