Apple Security Issues May Surface Soon

Mac OS X, although based on Unix, has the potential for security problems, and experts are advising we may see exploits as early as this year. According to SecurityFocus, a sample exploit was demonstrated at the recent SchmooCon Hacker Conference with out the victimis consent.

One researcheris PowerBook running Tiger was compromised when an unknown hacker disabled his firewall and started up a file server. The researcher, who chose to remain anonymous, commented "The machine was as hardened as best practices could suggest for anyone. This was not a subtle hack."

Despite the fact that Apple has been working with the research specialist to determine how the PowerBook was compromised, the results have been inconclusive.

By and large, however, Mac OS X tends to be more secure than other operating systems. It does not require users to run applications while in an administrator mode, and it does not have Windowis ActiveX, which is known for several security problems.

Many security experts have already transitioned to Mac OS X because of its inherently higher level of security. That may translate into security enhancements down the road, thanks to their familiarity with the operating system.

Some experts feel that Apple has ignored the lessons from other flavors of Unix, and is making some of the same security mistakes that others have corrected years ago. The switch to Intel processors may also lead to easier attacks on the Mac, since many hackers are already familiar with ways to exploit hardware flaws in Intelis chips.

According to Jay Beale, a senior security consultant for Intelguardians and an expert in hardening Linux and Mac OS X systems, "This is almost certainly the year of the OS X exploit."