Windows 7 More Secure than Snow Leopard Says Security Expert 9 replies

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Tanith

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#1 9 years ago

A notorious Mac white hacker has put the latest iterations of client operating systems from both Apple and Microsoft in the balance and, after weighing, found the most recent cat from Cupertino inferior in terms of security compared to the rival from Redmond. Charlie Miller, of Baltimore-based Independent Security Evaluators, who managed to hack Mac OS X Leopard in record time in the past, indicated that the security Apple built into Snow Leopard is inferior not only to Windows 7, but also to Windows Vista, a three-year old operating system released at the end of January 2007. Miller’s statement contradicts the general perception that Mac OS X is superior in terms of security compared to Windows, and the security researcher should know, since he hacked Apple’s operating systems on more than one occasion. Charlie Miller is best known for its Mac OS X hacks in the past two years, which have generated headlines around the world. Back in March 2008, the team of Miller, Jake Honoroff, and Mark Daniel from Independent Security Evaluators successfully "pwned and owned" an Apple MacBook Air, in a hacking contest sponsored by TippingPoint's Zero Day Initiative. At that time, Mac OS X was the first to fall, ahead of Vista SP1 Ultimate and Ubuntu in the Pwn2Own contest from CamSecWest. But Miller wasn’t done. In mid-March 2009, he hacked Mac OS X in just 10 seconds in the same Pwn2Own CamSecWest hacking competition. The difference Miller argues, according to TechWorld, is made by Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), a feature underdeveloped in Snow Leopard. “ASLR moves images into random locations when a system boots and thus makes it harder for shell code to operate successfully. For a component to support ASLR, all components that it loads must also support ASLR. For example, if A.EXE consumes B.DLL and C.DLL, all three must support ASLR. By default, Windows Vista will randomize system DLLs and EXEs, but DLLs and EXEs created by ISVs must opt in to support ASLR,” Microsoft reveals, and the same is valid not just for Vista, but also for Windows. The security researcher indicated that Apple failed to introduce a fully fledged and fully functional, for that matter, ASLR in Snow Leopard. The largest problem related to ASLR according to Miller was the fact that Apple did nothing to improve the technology from Leopard to Snow Leopard. The latest versions of Mac OS X feature an ASLR that continues to ignore key components of the platform when it comes to randomization. Miller pointed out that the Snow Leopard ASLR fails to randomize the heap, the stack and the dynamic linker, delivering a wider attack surface than the ASLR in Windows Vista or in Windows 7. "I hoped Snow Leopard would do full ASLR, but it doesn't," Miller stated. "I don't understand why they didn't. But Apple missed an opportunity with Snow Leopard. The security researcher revealed that while there are security enhancements in Snow Leopard, related to QuickTime and Data Execution Prevention, ASLR is the key factor that still makes Vista and Windows 7 more secure. “Snow Leopard's more secure than Leopard, but it's not as secure as Vista or Windows 7. When Apple has both [in place], that's when I'll stop complaining about Apple's security," Miller added. “It's harder to write exploits for Windows than the Mac, but all you see are Windows exploits. That's because if [attackers] can hit 90% of the machines out there, that's all [they’ll] do. It's not worth [them] nearly doubling [their] work just to get that last 10%." Still, Snow Leopard continues to benefit from the perception of Mac OS X being more secure than Windows. Primarily, this is related to the security-through-obscurity model, which implies that Apple’s small share of the OS market makes its platform less attractive to attackers. "I still think you're pretty safe [on a Mac]," Miller noted. "I wouldn't recommend antivirus on the Mac. ASLR and DEP are very important. I just don't understand why they didn't do ASLR right." Windows 7 RTM Enterprise 90-Day Evaluation is available for download here.

Source: Windows 7 Bests Snow Leopard Says Mac Hacker - In terms of security - Softpedia

Other Sources: Vista, Windows 7 Are More Secure than Snow Leopard - PC World

Snow Leopard less secure than Vista or Windows 7 says security expert

Snow Leopard less secure than Windows, says hacker - Techworld.com




>Omen<

Modern Warfare

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1st January 2005

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#2 9 years ago

I don't think that is all that surprising nor do I think it takes much space to sum it up. Apple's big slant for some time has been that Vista and PCs in general are more virus prone, but in reality PCs are just more targeted by hackers because more people use Windows. If Apple had as big a market share, their security flaws would be more obvious. Long live PC, and screw Apple's deceitful ways. Anyone that's tried to remove Apple's invasive Bonjour knows they aren't at all sincere about security.




Mr. Pedantic

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8th October 2006

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#3 9 years ago

I didn't think it was that surprising either. Basically, Apple's relied on the fact that Microsoft is the dominant OS supplier to cover up their own shortcomings regarding security. It doesn't help that whenever they try to release a security update for some piece of their software it comes bundled with all this crap that isn't really useful for anyone who just wants to use iTunes, and maybe sync their ipod.

Anyone that's tried to remove Apple's invasive Bonjour knows they aren't at all sincere about security.

Oh gosh...the stuff that Apple puts into iTunes is legendary:

Slimming down the bloated iTunes installer | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com




>Omen<

Modern Warfare

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#4 9 years ago

"Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of the open-source Zeroconf, a multicast DNS responder used to discover services on a local area network. It’s installed by default with the iTunes download and also installed silently with some Adobe products, a decision that “freaked out” some Adobe customers. Adding unauthorized peer-to-peer services on a corporate network is a distinct no-no, as a number of customers have told Apple on their support forums."

Yep, got it myself from a trial version of Adobe Premier Pro, and that was before they finally made an uninstaller for it after so many complained about it.




*The.Doctor

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#5 9 years ago

Too bad Win7 still can't come close to the ease of use and polish of OSX, in my opinion as a Windows and Mac user that is.




Yannick

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#6 9 years ago

Not to mention 99.9% of the script kiddies out there know nothing about Apple services and protocols so are no threat to it at all.




Tanith

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#7 9 years ago

*The.Doctor;5021848Too bad Win7 still can't come close to the ease of use and polish of OSX, in my opinion as a Windows and Mac user that is.[/QUOTE]

That really is a matter of opinion. I had to use a Mac at Uni for an assignment and to me it was hell and I couldn't wait to get back to my Windows PC at home.

[QUOTE=Yannick;5021873]Not to mention 99.9% of the script kiddies out there know nothing about Apple services and protocols so are no threat to it at all.

Miller adds that for now, a Mac user is much less liable to get attacked than a Windows user, but that's not because Snow Leopard is more secure than Windows. In fact, he says, it's less secure than either Vista or Windows 7. There simply aren't enough Mac users to make it worth hackers' efforts to attack Macs, he says. Computerworld quotes him as saying:

"It's harder to write exploits for Windows than the Mac, but all you see are Windows exploits. That's because if [the hacker] can hit 90% of the machines out there, that's all he's gonna do. It's not worth him nearly doubling his work just to get that last 10%."




Al the Octopus

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#8 9 years ago
>Omen<;5021343I don't think that is all that surprising nor do I think it takes much space to sum it up. Apple's big slant for some time has been that Vista and PCs in general are more virus prone, but in reality PCs are just more targeted by hackers because more people use Windows. If Apple had as big a market share, their security flaws would be more obvious. Long live PC, and screw Apple's deceitful ways. Anyone that's tried to remove Apple's invasive Bonjour knows they aren't at all sincere about security.

That really sums it up. I honestly think that Apple's security flaws have been obvious for quite some time, but hackers really have no reason to design viruses for Macs, because it's just doesn't make sense for them to. Like the article said, why double your effort just to eek out that last 10%, when you already can attack 90% of the computers?




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#9 9 years ago
*The.Doctor;5021848Too bad Win7 still can't come close to the ease of use and polish of OSX, in my opinion as a Windows and Mac user that is.

:cort:


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



Von II

aka noobst3R

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#10 9 years ago