The Apple community has, since the beginning of time or well… atleast since its inception, has largely been immunie to attacks that regularly plague the internet community. Remember Nimda, Blaster, Slammer… yup. While you spend your time cursing Microsoft or your not so smart Anti Virus solution so prone to failure from zero day attacks, the Apple fanboys respond — they don’t have to worry about such nonsense. Apple’s general lack of concern towards viruses and malware was based on solid grounds. Their core kernel, based on secure Unix components for its underlying Operating System foundation, in itself makes the mac less vulnerable to malicious code. The other significant factor was that the Apple base wasn’t simply big enough for hackers to devote their attention to. Hackers crave attention … they want headlines also if possible bring in some moolah through their efforts among other things. The Apple community comprised of less that 5% of the overall PC market,so why not spend as much time, maybe even less creating something that will affect the remaining 95%.
However that is all changing. The iPod craze is translating into more customers for Apple. According to Apple’s most recent earning statement, Apple sold a bit north of 830,000 Macs in their last quarter, up 6% from their previous quarter. Apple’s market share is still in the single digits, but I can say for a fact that Apple is back. Thus, the slow but steady growth in the number of Mac users, is starting to make it an attractive target for malicious hackers.
And, we are starting to see this happen. This interest is translating into the discovery of more system vulnerabilities. Security vendor Internet Security Systems found that there were three times as many vulnerabilities found for the Macintosh in May of this year as there. Security supplier McAfee found that the number of vulnerabilities for the Macintosh went up 228 percent, compared to a 78 percent increase for Microsoft Windows, from 2003 to 2005.
In February 2006, the first worm designed for Mac OS X appeared. Named “OSX/Leap.A,” it is an instant messaging worm capable of infecting Mac applications. In addition, a handful of other attacks, focusing on items such as the Apple’s Safari browser and the Mac’s Bluetooth connectivity, have taken place.
In November 06, we see the release of a new worm for Apple named ‘Opener’. As first reported on The Mac Observer October 25, security experts discovered the virus entitled ‘Opener’, or ‘Renepo’ (opener spelled backwards), disguising itself as a shell script.