Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Sat 25th Jun 2011 08:55 UTC, submitted by John
Mac OS X "Using a Mac may certainly be a safer choice for a lot of people as despite being vulnerable they are not targeted. However this is not the same as Macs being secure, something Eric Schmidt erroneously advised recently. I may be able to browse impervious to malware on a Mac at the moment, however I personally would not be comfortable using a platform so easily compromised if someone had the motivation to do so. In this article I address just why OS X is so insecure including the technical shortcomings of OS X as well as Apples policies as a company that contribute to the situation."
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RE[2]: Just another article
by jack_perry on Sat 25th Jun 2011 17:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Just another article"
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

Except you don't have to enter the admin password for many attacks to work on a Mac. For example, I could send you a trojan'd executable that when you run it, will email me everything in your Documents directory. You wouldn't be required to enter any password because it does not need admin permission to do that. I could also email your Apple Mail folders to myself and then harvest email addresses, emails from your bank, etc. Again, no admin permission required because these directories and files only need user permission to be able to access.

Fair enough. How does any OS defend against such an attack?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Just another article
by Neolander on Sat 25th Jun 2011 17:25 in reply to "RE[2]: Just another article"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

By only letting applications access their own folder and files explicitly pointed out by the user. I've been told that Android does a bit of this, by forcing applications to tell the user what they want to access at installation time. This system just needs to be improved and polished until it shines.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Just another article
by Alfman on Sat 25th Jun 2011 18:53 in reply to "RE[3]: Just another article"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

jack_perry,
"Fair enough. How does any OS defend against such an attack?"

Neolander,
"By only letting applications access their own folder and files explicitly pointed out by the user."

A user should not have to trust an app in order to run it. Untrusted apps should be allowed to run, but remain individually sandboxed. This way a user could in fact download and run untrusted software without compromising anything else on the system. I don't know of any OS which does this effectively. Java Web Start gets very close, it's a shame Sun never got much traction with it.

Obviously it's extremely difficult to implement sandboxing mid-game. Once we have a huge base of legitimate software which sets the precedent of requiring full access in order to run at all, the user is trained to routinely give app's escalated privileges. This means the security provided by the sandboxing becomes ineffective - ms vista is a good example of this.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Just another article
by pantheraleo on Sat 25th Jun 2011 19:58 in reply to "RE[3]: Just another article"
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

By only letting applications access their own folder and files explicitly pointed out by the user. I've been told that Android does a bit of this, by forcing applications to tell the user what they want to access at installation time. This system just needs to be improved and polished until it shines.


Android runs each application inside its own chroot environment. Although whether that has made Android any more secure or not is very debatable. Recent reports from security research firms have suggested that Android is the second biggest vector of mobile malware now. Second only to Symbian. And that it is rapidly catching up to become the biggest vector of mobile malware. So it doesn't look like Android's security model actually works.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Just another article
by jack_perry on Sun 26th Jun 2011 00:13 in reply to "RE[3]: Just another article"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

By only letting applications access their own folder and files explicitly pointed out by the user.

I don't see how this is a solution. A trojan that can convince a user to install it, can also convince a user to grant it access to all files in a Documents directory. Never mind the hassle to the user who's trying to run serious programs.

Reply Parent Score: 2