Gartner Warns About "Potential" Mac OS X Vulnerabilities

On the heels of Symantecis March 21 warning regarding security vulnerabilities present in Mac OS X, Gartner Research recently issued a brief note titled, "Donit Assume Your Macs Are Immune to Security Flaws."

While Mac OS X has not fallen victim to any widespread viruses or trojans to date, Gartner Research analyst Martin Reynolds warned businesses in particular that they should not necessarily consider themselves immune from such malicious code, and that appropriate safeguards should be in place in case such an event arises.

Mr. Reynolds noted that because of the Macis small market share, the chances of a virus or trojan gaining any traction is relatively small; PCs that would receive the infected file, for example, would not pass it on to other systems, much like how Windows viruses and trojans are halted when they reach a Mac recipient.

"A hybrid worm targeting both the Mac OS and Microsoft Windows could be developed, but such an attack would be difficult to orchestrate," said Mr. Reynolds. "The Mac OS is also a harder target, partly because open-source code and limited hardware diversity mean that vulnerabilities can be quickly detected and patched with less risk to applications. However, it only takes one exploited weakness to cause trouble."

While the report is not quite as sensational as news outlets have made it out to be, some Mac users will surely point out that Mr. Reynoldsi statement that "[spyware] is almost nonexistent on the Mac platform today, [but] problem spyware could emerge," is slightly misleading in itself: spyware is not "almost nonexistant," it is nonexistant as of this writing.