Sophos: Apple secretly updates anti-malware tool

By on June 18, 2010, 1:59 PM
Apple doesn't want to be associated with the same kinds of viruses and other forms of malware that have plagued Windows users for years, but as their computers continue to gain popularity it's clear that Mac OS X is not immune to attacks. The company already introduced a little-known rudimentary antimalware tool with the release of Snow Leopard last August, and now they've reportedly have issued a 'stealth' update against a backdoor Trojan known to Apple as HellRTS.

According to IT security and data protection firm Sophos, Apple updated its malware protection system when it released Mac OS X 10.6.4 a few days back, but made no mention of it in the accompanying release notes or security bulletin. The threat in question has been distributed by hackers since April disguised as iPhoto and can be used to send spam, access your files, take screenshots of what you are doing and copy your clipboard.

As a firm that writes and sells antivirus software, it's easy to see why Sophos took a negative response to Apple's secrecy, suggesting they are simply trying to downplay security threats for marketing purposes. Furthermore, the company noted that while it's a positive thing that Apple had updated Mac OS X security, the solution is lacking as will only intercept malware if a user has downloaded it to their computer and then tried to run the file from their desktop. If the malware comes via a USB stick, for example, Apple's anti-malware tool reportedly misses the threat.




User Comments: 6

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Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Gotta love the ninja security updates... "Quick, throw a sloppy half-assed bandaid on these security issues before anybody finds out and screws up our ability to boast about being more secure than Windows!" At least Microsoft just owns up, releases the details AND a proper comprehensive patch (when possible) and moves on.

Sometimes the Apple mentality just boggles my mind. Then I think about all of the sheep that actually buy into it, and it just grabs my faith in humanity and kicks it squarely in the crotch... With a pointy-toed shoe... Repeatedly... Well, you get the drift.

tonylukac said:

People are always drinking the Apple Kool-Aid. Why not try apple juice?

matrix86 matrix86 said:

HA! Take that ya Macheads! "Oh, mac is so perfect in every way that you can't even possibly imagine."

Right, at least Microsoft doesn't cover up the fact that it's vulnerable

~Microsoft: "Oh crap, there's a whole in the security system here. Thanks for letting us know, we'll get right on it...ok here's a fix. Let's see how this works....another hole? No problem, we'll get right on it and let ya know when it's done..."

~Apple: "I'm sorry sir, but it must just be a bug in the system (since nothing ever seems to be Apples fault). Please reinstall your operating system...crap guys, this guy just got a virus, let's try to get this thing patched tonight before anyone else finds out! We can't have people knowing Mac has viruses and other stuff as well, it'll ruin our image. Screw the consumers, we have a perfect image to keep up. These retards will only keep paying for our ridiculous and outrages prices if we continue to look perfect."

Now...when will the Mac-heads come in and start tripping over themselves to defend Hitler and his Nazis...oops, I meant Jobs and his crew :P

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Apple's veil of 'secrecy' and 'illogical rigidity' about their platform was what made me get rid of my only mac machine many many years ago; and they haven't changed much ever since, so it is not that much of a surprise for me that they are at it again.

@matrix

Well at least Hitler gave us Hitler mobile ....... I mean just think about the amount of metal between you and the tree you'll eventually hit one day.

Guest said:

To be fair, they reap they benefits and cons of their success, and that means more scrutiny by would-be virtual cons.

If Hanna Montana Linux took 90% desktop share, I'm sure there would be malware targeting that too,

Even linux isn't immune anymore, look at that malware found in a linux screensaver:

http://linux.slashdot.org/story/09/12/09/2215253/Malware-Fou
d-Hidden-In-Screensaver-On-Gnome-Look

The point is that now matter how "secure" the OS is, there is no protecting against social-engineered attacks. Only good common sense and a good backup program can help.

As they say, "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance"

Guest said:

And the point of antimalware/antivirus is that it helps protect you you can't even detect or know it IS a virus.

That's the thing, we can download from cnet or filehippo and think we're safe, but if the download server itself is compromised, then it's not like the program will be so obvious about it.

I'd rather have antivirus/antimalware and not need it, then not have it and find out later I was infected.

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