Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Now that the Mac has achieved uber popularity, it is attracting hackers.Last week Apple got its first taste of what Microsoft security goes through on a daily basis and its response was a big, fat fail.
Apple tried to take out the security researcher who told Apple it had a security problem, reports Forbes.
A Russian antivirus company, Dr. Web, said it had discovered a Mac botnet built oon malware known as the Flashback trojan. Dr. Web had found 600,000 infected Macs in the botnet, including a couple hundred in Cupertino, CA, home to Apple headquarters, reports Ars Technica. That’s the biggest Mac botnet ever discovered.
Dr. Web went public with information about the Mac botnet last week after Apple blew it off. The security company contacted Apple earlier in the month.
What was Apple’s response? It tried to have one of Dr. Web’s research networks shut down. It went to the people that control Internet domains and said that this one was up to no good. But Dr. Web had been using a pretend botnet to infiltrate the real one to figure out the behaviour of infected PCs. This is something that security researchers commonly do.
Apple believed that the Dr. Web botnet was the bad guy. “This seems to mean that Apple is not considering our work as a help. It’s just annoying them,” Dr. Web’s CEO Boris Sharov, told Forbes.
To be fair to Apple, its mistake could have been mere stupidity and not revenge. Dr. Web isn’t a household name in the U.S. so maybe Apple didn’t think it was dealing with a real white hat. But the company did get endorsed by well-known security researchers at Kaspersky who confirmed Dr. Web’s findings.
Apple had better get its act together with the security community.
Until recently, Macs haven’t been popular enough to attract the attention of hackers. Malware is a percentage game. Throw the net wide and you will eventually trick enough people into an infection.
As more people buy Macs, more hackers will try to hack them. It’s not wise to kill the messenger.
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