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Saturday, May 06, 2006

McAfee bites into Apple security

The antivirus vendor introduced McAfee VirusScan for Mactel on Friday. To back up its statement, McAfee cited the release in March of a patch that fixed 20 vulnerabilities in OS X. A proof-of-concept worm that targeted the OS X platform was also discovered earlier this year.

Many flaws have been discovered in Microsoft products over the same period.

McAfee admitted that Mac users were at "no significant risk" at the moment. But the security vendor also said that if the OS X user base expands, thanks to the popularity of iPod media player and its new range of Intel-powered Macs, then Apple's software will become a more tempting target for organized criminals.

"Historically, Microsoft has been targeted because it has had dominant market share. As there are more Apple users (in the future), more threats will appear," Sal Viveros, a security expert at McAfee, told ZDNet UK.

"At this point, there is very little research (into OS X vulnerabilities) and very few people trying to exploit the OS. You have a lot more people trying to find vulnerabilities in Windows at the moment, but we believe that as more people put the time into finding vulnerabilities in Apple OSes, they will become just as vulnerable as any other OS," Viveros added.

Some Apple users have reacted angrily in the past to suggestions that the Mac platform is becoming less secure, pointing out that Microsoft regularly releases critical patches.

But Secunia said that it also believes that hackers are likely to focus more resources on finding vulnerabilities in Mac OS X.



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