Mac OS X Still Least Attacked OS In February, Says Security Firm

Appleis Mac OS X Server and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD)-based, Open Source operating systems were the most secure online server?OSes in February, according to the British cyber security firm mi2g. The firmis latest study also said the economic damage from viruses, worms and Trojan horses in February reached an all time high of between US$54 billion and US$66 billion worldwide, dwarfing the previous all time high reached last August.

The study conducted by mi2gis Intelligence Unit looked at the total number of attacks against government and private sector online servers, as well as the number of successful attacks, for the month of February. The most attacked OS for online servers?was Linux at 67 percent, down from 80 percent in January. Windows was the second most attacked OS at 22 percent, up from 12 percent the previous month, followed by BSD and Mac OS X at 4.5 percent, up from zero percent.

"Whilst Windows has been most hit by malware attacks on the desktop and elsewhere, Linux appears to be the most breached?in the server?domain," said DK Matai, Executive Chairman, of mi2g. "Not surprisingly, the top 50?longest running systems by average uptime are all BSD on which the Mac OS X is based."

The primary targets for digital attacks - both commercial and non-commercial -?last month?were in the US, Germany, Brazil, Australia, India, Italy and the UK, in that order.? On the government side, the primary targets?have been?servers and networks belonging to China, Brazil, US, Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia and India, in that order.

February also heralded the first time that commercial websites had been successfully targeted through Distributed Denial of?Service (DDoS) attacks orchestrated?via armies of izombiesi based through mostly home and small business computers infected?by malware, the company said.?The company also said 95 percent of all digital server attacks are coming from home and small business computers that are being ihijackedi without the owners knowledge and used to spread spam,?scams and?virus-infected e-mail.

"Where large corporations are increasingly better prepared against digital risk, home and small business computer users are often unaware of the damage they cause by leaving their online computers unprotected," Mr. Matai said.

In February, the global proliferation of MyDoom, NetSky and Dumaru?viruses, caused heavy damage to PCs and servers in over 215 countries across the world.

The economic damage from viruses, hacking, spam campaigns and scams totaled between US$68 billion and US$83 billion worldwide in February, the second highest on record, the company reported.

The economic damage is calculated on the basis of helpdesk support costs, overtime payments, contingency outsourcing, loss of business, bandwidth clogging, productivity erosion, management time reallocation, cost of recovery, software upgrades, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations, customer and supplier liabilities and share price decline where applicable.

The?overall study is based upon the analysis of over 1,000 organizations worldwide, with 30 percent related to government organizations, including those in the US.

"We have three main sources for our data," Mr. Matai said. "The main one is our personal relationships under non-disclosure agreements with a range of clients and other third parties, ranging from government to banking and insurance companies. They give us access to evaluate their computer systems and find attacks as long as we donit attribute their names to our reports." In addition, mi2g sponsors and monitors hacker bulletin boards completely unbeknown to the hackers. "We also operate a large number of anonyomous communication channels with hacking groups," he said.

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