- 16 April 2012 09:35
Apple security team touches down on Planet Earth!
Apple's top-level starting page for security updates, the well-thumbed KB article HT1222, still contains its traditional blunt dismissal:
For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available.
But someone in Apple has broken ranks following the recent revelations of a Jolly Big OS X botnet, featuring a Java exploit (Exp/20120507-A) and the now-much-talked-about OSX/FlshPlyr-D malware.
In KB article HT5244, Apple has - apparently for the very first time! - talked about a security problem before it had all its threat reponse ducks in a row:
Apple is developing software that will detect and remove the Flashback malware.
Incidentally, some Apple apologists are still keen for us to exonerate Apple and lump the blame on Oracle.
Arik Hesseldahl, over at AllThingsD, for example, headlined one of his reports on this outbreak with: "What’s This? A Mac Virus? No, Actually It’s a Weakness in Java."
Actually, Arik, it's both. (If you allow me the word virus to mean malware in general, which is how most of the world uses it today.)
It's an exploitable vulnerability in Java, and it's a piece, or rather a family, of Mac malware.
Arik even goes on to explain that the malware "targets a vulnerability in software that is not even an Apple product: Java." Unfortunately, if you have Java on OS X then it pretty much is an Apple product.
Java is part of OS X 10.6 and earlier; it's an official Apple add-on for 10.7. So you can't apply Oracle's updates. Oracle may be the manufacturer, but Apple's the vendor, and you have to wait for Apple's fix.
Sadly, in this case, Exp/20120507-A was still, technically-speaking, a zero-day exploit on OS X some six weeks after it was patched for other operating systems.
Bad luck, this time, for Mac users, but perhaps good news in the long-term.
If nothing else, Apple's security team has touched down on Planet Earth. Apple seems to have decided that sharing information early - even if it's only to say, "We haven't quite finished our technical responses yet, but here's what to do in the meantime" - is better for everyone.
Better for you, for me, and for Apple!
* Patching Java doesn't, on its own, prevent you getting infected by this or any other malware. It makes it much less likely that this outbreak will affect your Mac, but it closes only one of many possible doors of entry for malicious code.
* HT5244 says that "for Macs running Mac OS X v10.5 or earlier, you can better protect yourself from this malware by disabling Java in your web browser(s) preferences." Actually, there isn't any other way to close the Java hole. Apple hasn't provided a patch for users of 10.5 or earlier, and isn't saying if it will ever do so.
* Patching Java doesn't mean you aren't already infected. So if you're not sure, you can wait for Apple's Flashback-fixer software to come out, or you can use a product which already detects and cleans it. (Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition will do the trick.)
PS. For those of you inclined to let rip in the comments that I'm only discussing Mac malware, and talking up the risks, because we happen to have a free product to "sell" you, please consider an alternative explanation. Perhaps the reason we have a free product to "sell" is because we think there is a genuine risk?
UXC Connect’s Jesmond Psaila says that DevOps can do for IT operations what Agile did for software development. This paper demonstrates how, by combining both approaches, you can significantly improve operational efficiency and time-to-market. • Marketing and development teams want to constantly change or increase functionality, while IT operations teams want to keep the environment as stable as possible • Agile software development and virtualisation have not solved the time-to-value problem faced by marketing and IT operations teams • Recent movements in DevOps aim to address and redefine a more agile service management platform, while new tools have vastly improved functionality to configure and automate common processes
- CCL2 Technical Support Engineer - RightFax/MessagingVIC
- FTSenior Media TraderNSW
- FTDigital Account Manager X 3 | Display + Video advertisingNSW
- FTMachine Learning | JAVA | San Fran based global Company | SydneyNSW
- FTCampaign Managers| RTB / Programmatic | Expression of InterestNSW
- FTCampaign Managers | RTB | Display + Video | Trading desk |SydneyNSW
- FTDigital Media PlannerNSW
- FTInformation Services ManagerNZ
- FTChief Information OfficerNSW
BIG-IQ Security makes it easy to manage the entire firewall policy life cycle. Read about the key benefits and download the policy auditing and security compliance report today
- NBN Co calls Telstra back to court over CPI adjustments
- Melbourne IT revenue up after Netregistry acquisition
- Brandis mum on data retention cost
- Are startups and enterprises better together?
- Netflix open sources internal threat monitoring tools
- Telstra hits back over bandwidth pricing claims
- ASIC reveals depth of ignorance over website blocking debacle
- Surface Pro 3 not overheating but needs a software fix, Microsoft says
- Server sales have turned a corner, IDC says
- In pictures: A look inside the York Butter Factory startup space
- Nine, Fairfax show hand on subscription video with StreamCo
- Braintree brings PayPal SDK to Australia
- EMC gives VMware admins the reins to replication and recovery
- NBN cost-benefit analysis signals the end of an era
- NBN: Labor condemns 'flawed' Vertigan panel report