[ISN] Web perils advise switch to Macs

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Jul 6 01:20:21 EDT 2006

Forwarded from: eric wolbrom, CISSP <eric at shtech.net>


BBC News
5 July 2006

Security threats to PCs with Microsoft Windows have increased so much
that computer users should consider using a Mac, says a leading
security firm.

Sophos security said that the 10 most commonly found pieces of
malicious software all targeted Windows machines.

In contrast, it said, none of the "malware" were capable of infecting
the Mac OS X operating system.

Microsoft has pledged that the latest version of its operating system,
known as Vista, will be its most secure yet.

"It is our goal to give PC users the control and confidence they need
so they can continue to get the most out of their PCs," a Microsoft
spokesperson said.

"Windows Vista contains a number of new safety features that, taken
together, are designed to make Windows PCs more secure and online
experiences safer."

Microsoft said that security on Vista would be an integral part of the
operating system rather than an add-on like in previous systems.

Top threats

The advice from Sophos was given as it released a report, detailing
the security threats posed to computers so far in 2006.

The report says that there has been a vast drop in malicious software
like viruses and worms.

However, the company warns that there has been a sharp increase in the
number of Trojans. It said that 82% of new security threats this year
were from these programs.  Trojans are pieces of malicious software
that are hidden in other legitimate programs such as downloaded

The Trojan may collect financial information or allow the infected
computer to be controlled remotely for sending spam or launching web

"The continuing rise of malware will concern many - the criminals
responsible are obviously making money from their code, otherwise
they'd give up the game," said Graham Cluley, senior technology
consultant at Sophos.

Mac flaws

Although Trojans dominate the list of security threats, the most
widespread problem was the Sober-Z worm.

The worm, which was spread by e-mail, infected people's computers and
tried to turn off security settings. It replicated by looking for
other e-mail addresses on the computers' hard drives.

At its peak, the worm accounted for one in every 13 e-mails being
sent.  The worm infected computers running the Windows operating
system, but was not designed to infect Apple Macs.

"It seems likely that Macs will continue to be the safer place for
computer users for some time to come," said Mr Cluley.

"[That is] something that home users may wish to consider if they're
deliberating about the next computer they should purchase," he added.

Earlier this year, a security flaw in the way that Macs downloaded
files was identified; while three concept viruses and a worm written
specifically for Apple computers were also discovered.

The viruses were never released into the "wild" and posed little
security threat

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