Mac OS X, iOS at Increased Risk in 2011: Report
Mac OS X will come under more frequent attack in 2011, according to a prominent security firm. In its 2011 Threat Predictions report
, McAfee Labs says that newly popular platforms like Android, iOS and Mac OS X will be targeted by malicious code more than ever before.
Though ardent Mac OS X supporters (aka fanbois) often tout the platform's history of fewer destructive viruses along with its UNIX roots as signs of its inherent superiority an the area of security, security researchers have found many vulnerabilities in the operating system. In May, the security firm Secunia put Apple at the top of its list
of software developers with the most vulnerabilities, ahead of Oracle and Microsoft. And at this year's Pwn2Own, Charlie Miller, an analyst at Baltimore-based Independent Security Evaluators, defeated the security on a MacBook Pro in seconds.
Mac OS X's main protection has been its relative obscurity when compared to Windows. However, that may now be in jeopardy, ironically as a result of Apple's success with computers: from about 2% usage in 2000, Mac OS X has shot up to over 6% and is poised for further growth. "Historically, the Mac OS platform has remained relatively unscathed by malicious attackers," the McAfee report notes, but predicts that "Mac-targeted malware will continue to increase in sophistication in 2011."
In addition, the report says, iOS will also be at greater risk in the year to come. "The popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments, combined with the lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices," will increase the danger. Furthermore, McAfee Labs foresees that "Apple botnets and Trojans" will be "a common occurrence. "