Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Jan 2006 20:57 UTC
Apple "The recent move by Apple Computer to begin shipping Macintosh computers that use microprocessors from Intel could open the door to more attacks against computers running the company's OS X operating system, security experts warn. The change could put more pressure on Apple to build security features into OS X, according to interviews conducted by eWEEK. Apple declined requests for interviews. In an e-mail statement, the company said that the security technologies and processes that have made Mac OS X secure for PowerPC remain the same for Intel-based Macs." Update: Here's a rebuttal.
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postmodern
Member since:
2006-01-27

Well this is actually a half truth. One of the many factors that made Apple PPC boxes appear to be secure (small user base, we know that) was that PPC asm is a total pain to learn compared to x86 asm. This is mainly due to the very logical syntax structuring of x86 asm. All the directives have English sounding names, mov (move), push, pop, xor, and, jmp (jump), nop (no operation), intr (interrupt). Also the amount of data a directive handles is denoted by the appended letter b (byte), w (word), l (long) and q (quad, x86-64). PPC asm reallies more on acronyms which are very difficult to memorize, lwz - load word zero is my favorite. PPC asm also has lots of specialized directives which one has to memorize as well, where as x86 you only need to know a few to get work done. Top it all off with not as much PPC asm learning material available and it's no surprise many people fear PPC asm like it's voodoo or something. Some people do manager to learn PPC asm and love it, they might also be hitting the koolaid.

So with Apple moving to x86 one could make the claim that virus writers, shellcode designers and other types who craft malicious payloads will look twice at Apple Intel boxes. This isn't to say that OSX's security WILL BE HORRIBLE, that depends on how many vulns are discovered and Apple's security response.

It appears that this is just one more article in the long line of sensationalist journalism which has no clue what the difference between a payload, vector and a vuln is. I almost suspect some of these articles seem to imply that we should not buy Apple's products, that the grass isn't secure on the other side, and we should instead stick with our Wintels; but maybe that's just me...

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