Looks like all those Apple users teasing Windows users that Microsoft is the least secure operating system might find some egg on their face. “In my opinion, things could be a lot worse on Mac OS X than they currently are on other operating systems, regarding security vulnerabilities,” said Neil Archibald, senior security researcher at software security specialists Suresec, told ZDNet, it’s Down Under edition. Ah-oh. That’s not good.
So what’s the deal? Well according to Archibald, there are “plenty” of low-lying bugs infesting the Aqua operating system known as OS X. These bugs are common and well known in the UNIX world. Since OS X’s heart is UNIX, there is a lot of opportunity for hackers to gain access to the OS and unleash the tiger. While other *NIX operating systems have been patched, it seems Apple’s engineers have been overlooking it’s system and that may lead to some big problems. “Some of the security vulnerabilities we’ve seen during research on OS X were fixed on most other operating systems 10 to 15 years ago,” said Archibald. Whoops.
One such bug was pointed out by Archibald to Apple that allowed a non-privileged user to gain root access to the system. The dsidentity bug was so trivial that when Archibald pointed it out to Apple, he said the engineers literally laughed out loud on the phone call when they saw how simple the vulnerability was. In fact, those engineers had never even heard of the hole! Yikes.
Archibald went on to tell ZDNet that there many other vulnerabilities in OS X that have yet to be fixed. As OS X become more popular, so will it become with hackers. When that happens, Apple will have a marketing nightmare on its hands trying to answer all the baffled users as to why their operating system, once coveted for not being susceptible to hackers, is no longer working as well as it use to. Hope those engineers stop laughing and starting patching code…