Eugene Kaspersky, Kaspersky Lab
Now that the Flashback trojan infection is being brought under control, users and security firms alike are beginning to evaluate Apple’s response to the outbreak. Augmenting his company’s statement last week that “Mac OS X Invulnerability is a Myth,” Kaspersky Lab co-founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky told Computer Business Review on Wednesday that Apple is “ten years behind Microsoft” on security
Predicting that the recent exploits in Java are just the start of a new wave of high-profile attacks against Apple’s platforms, Mr. Kaspersky had strong words for the Cupertino company which, until recent months, has not had to address the type of large scale security issues that have plagued Microsoft platforms for decades.
“I think they are ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security,” Mr. Kaspersky told CBR. “For many years I’ve been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows. It’s always been possible to develop Mac malware, but this one was a bit different. For example it was asking questions about being installed on the system and, using vulnerabilities, it was able to get to the user mode without any alarms.”
He also argued that rising Mac market share means that OS X is now a viable target for cyber criminals, saying, “Cyber criminals have now recognized that Mac is an interesting area. Now we have more, it’s not just Flashback or Flashfake. Welcome to Microsoft’s world, Mac. It’s full of malware.”
Mr. Kapersky believes that despite the more secure foundation of OS X as compared to earlier versions of Windows, hackers and cyber criminals will still find a way to exploit the system and Apple will have to take a more aggressive and proactive stance on security in order to protect their users.
“[Apple] will understand very soon that they have the same problems Microsoft had ten or 12 years ago. They will have to make changes in terms of the cycle of updates and so on and will be forced to invest more into their security audits for the software,” Mr. Kaspersky said.
Mr. Kaspersky heads Kaspersky Lab, a security firm that provides antivirus software for both Windows and Mac. While his company stands to profit from a potentially growing need for third-party antivirus software, the recent security outbreaks and Apple’s much criticized slow response indicate that Mr. Kaspersky’s comments cannot be entirely dismissed as opportunistic.