Monday, August 03, 2009

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts | By Thomas Claburn | InformationWeek | July 30, 2009 04:59 PM - "The development of a proof-of-concept rootkit for Mac OS X reinforces the fact that security concerns aren't just for Windows users.

At the Black Hat security conference on Wednesday, security researcher Dino Dai Zovi revealed a proof-of-concept rootkit that runs on Apple's Mac OS X operating system, underscoring the fact that all software has flaws.

Rootkit software is designed to covertly run code, typically malicious, on affected systems. It can be used to steal information or control a compromised system. Rootkits are typically installed by other malware.

This isn't a surprise, really. The fact is that there are rootkits and other tools to break into any OS. And if you make a new OS it will be cracked eventually. That's a garuntee. But it's the accessability and construction of the OS's innards that determin whether it's easy to crack or not.

First, if it's connected to a network, especially the Internet, it's already an open target for anyone. If you can't access the system you can't break into it. But it's not just network access you have to guard against. It's physical access that is the method behind most of the major breakins.

Another important feature is the way the OS works with it's environment. If the system doesn't easily let you have access to the internal workings of the OS you have allot more work to do before you can crack into it. Given time and resources any system can be breached. But why put forth a lot of effort when there are easier targets out there?

So if you are running Mac OS X you don't need to panic right away. Just keep an eye on the Apple/Mac security threads and follow standard network and system security practices and you should be fairly good.

If you are running a Microsoft OS, well, that's a different story.
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