Mac users face first Apple virus? Or News and Virus Program supplier Hype

Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Admin
#1
Beware the news hype on this. First, it is not a virus. Second, the user has to enter the computer administrator's password for the 'virus' to run. As a Mac person since about 1986 the only 'virus' I ever had was the 1987 WDEF which corrupted floppy disk 'boot' blocks. Data was easily recovered and formatting the floppy disk eliminated the 'virus'.

You'll find the discussion on Slashdot (/.) here: First Mac OS X Virus? with links to some 'sane' analysis reports.

I read stuff like this:
"Some owners of Mac computers have held the belief that Mac OS X is incapable of harbouring computer viruses, but Leap-A will leave them shellshocked," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, the web security firm, said.
Well.... Imagine that from a company which sells anti-virus programs....

To even begin, a person has to actively press an OK button to accept a request by iChat to receive the file.
The only people who will be affected, if anyone, are people who click every OK button without reading what they are OKing. AND, after that, and after unpacking the compressed file, the person must enter the administrator's password for the file to run.

My opinion: Hype to the max. Macs are still safer machines by far, and will continue to be. At least the Guardian article uses some moderation rather that foaming at the mouth and raving about the sky falling on Mac users. The best analysis of the 'virus' I have seen can be found at: New MacOS X trojan/virus alert, developing...

From The Guardian.
Mac users face first Apple virus

Bobbie Johnson
Friday February 17, 2006

Users of Apple computers were today being warned to protect themselves after the existence of a new kind of worm virus emerged.

The Leap-A worm, which spreads through instant messaging program iChat, is thought to be the first virus for the Apple platform. It poses as a series of pictures which, when opened, allows the worm through a security loophole in order to implant itself in other programs.

Experts say it is easy for users to protect themselves, but that the arrival of malicious code should be a wake-up call to Mac users, who have been unaffected by viruses until now.

"The Leap-A worm isn't in itself a significant threat, but it should act as a helpful reminder that malware [malicious software] can be written for any computer," said Graham Cluley of anti-virus company Sophos.

"The bad news is that most people think the situation is going to get worse for Macintosh users, and more threats will be targeted against the Apple community. The good news is that most don't believe it will ever be as big a problem as the one Microsoft Windows faces."

Microsoft's Windows, which commands more than 90% of the home computer market, is a far more established target for virus writers. As many as 200 new pieces of malicious Windows code are discovered every day, but until now hackers have shied away from attempting to infiltrate Apple machines. Experts believe, however, that the recent popularity of the company's iPod music player could have spurred the arrival of Leap-A.

It is 20 years since the first widespread PC virus, Brain, hit computers around the world. But despite the lack of Apple viruses in the wild, users have been warned on previous occasions to be wary of potential threats. Bill Thompson, a technology columnist for the BBC, recently came under fire for saying that Mac owners were "too smug" about security issues.
 
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Marc

Fully vaccinated are you?
Staff member
Admin
#2
I swear. I'm beginning to think F-Secure and some of these other 'security' companies are writing these things, too. Well, I guess scare tactics work on many people.

20 February 2006
Another OS X worm unearthed

By Peter Cohen, Macworld.com

A second piece of Mac OS X malware has emerged within a week - albeit a worm that poses a very limited threat. Security software maker F-Secure describes Inqtana.A, a Java-based "proof of concept" worm that exploits a vulnerability in Bluetooth on some Macs that haven't been updated with Panther and Tiger security patches.

The chances of Mac users actually being affected by Inqtana.A are remote, however - even F-Secure notes that it hasn't seen the worm "in the wild." What's more, Inqtana.A has an internal counter that prevents its operation after 24 February 2006. And Apple has also patched the vulnerability in free system updates.

Bluetooth is a short-distance, low-speed wireless networking technology used to connect computers, printers, PDAs, smartphones and other devices - it's become commonplace on the Mac in recent years.

Inqtana.A exploits a vulnerability called Bluetooth File and Object Exchange Directory Traversal: An infected machine could send an Object Exchange (OBEX) Push request to another system; if the user accepted the data transfer, Inqtana.A could then use the exploit to copy its files to start automatically on the next reboot. Once restarted, Inqtana.A could use the host machine to find other devices that accept OBEX Push transfers and try again.

The Directory Traversal exploit was documented in May, 2005. Apple Security Update 2005-006 for Mac OS X v10.3.9 and Mac OS X v10.4.1 closed the hole. Apple also integrated that security change into Mac OS X v10.4.1's general release. F-Secure claims that Inqtana.A is specific to Mac OS X v10.4.

The existence of Inqtana.A elicited an "I told you so" from security software maker Symantec senior director Vincent Weafer.

"We have speculated that attackers would turn their attention to other platforms, and two back-to-back examples of malicious code targeting Macintosh OS X this week illustrates this emerging trend," said Weafer in a statement.

Weafer advised diligence to Mac users, warning that Inqtana.A's source code "could be easily modified by a future attacker to do damage."
Bringing up old, already patched expoit holes and referencing a virus not 'found in the wild' (where was it found?)...

Oh, well.
 
J

jaimezepeda

#3
I finally switched to Mac OS X from Windows last summer. I mainly swithced because I got tired of having to disinfect my Windows machine daily.

Fortunately this recent scare for Mac OS X users is nowhere close to the garden variety malware found in the Windows world.

Jaime
 
Last edited by a moderator:
J

JerryStem

#4
I've often wondered how many viruses came from anti-virus companies... At least smaller, not-as-popular companies...

No viruses, no jobs. Hmmm... But I believe Kennedy was shot by Oswald & we really landed on the moon, so who knows.:bonk:

Jerry
(Isn't it amazing how fast new definitions appear after a new virus appears?)
 
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