Is Your Mac Safe?{4}


Over the years, the Mac OS has been praised for its strong security and accessibility by users. Many consumers believe that the OS is impenetrable by viruses and the like. Contrary to popular belief, vulnerabilities to the Mac OS are possible and evident in the article by Lucian Constantin in this month’s issue of PC Magazine. According to researchers from antivirus firm F-Secure, a Java vulnerability has been found and being exploited by cybercriminals to infect Mac computers with a new variant of Flashback malware. Since first appearing in September 2011 as a fake Flash Player installer, the Trojan horse has since evolved and bypassed the Mac OS security through Java exploits. Oracle has recently released a patch to fix the targeted vulnerability in the Windows version of Java. However, the update released by Oracle for the Windows OS may take months to be available for Mac OS users. This is primarily because Apple distributes a self-compiled version of Java for Macs. Apple has since stopped including Java by default in Mac OS X starting with version 10.7 (Lion). It is highly recommended that all users disable their Java client to prevent an outbreak.

I feel that this article ties in nicely to this week’s discussion regarding JavaScript and its uses on various browsers. I recall discussing JavaScript functions, uses, and capabilities in browsers during class lecture. Regarding the article read, the Java vulnerability has become a major concern for most users. These new exploits through Java, as a web application, have lead consumers to reconsider their security features as well as their OS.

One important note that I gained from the article was the role of exploits and how cybercriminals can bypass security, regardless of a computer’s OS. Consumers believed Apple to uphold their apparent high security for their Mac OS, but many opinions have changed after the current Java exploit. The Flashback malware is ever changing and adapting so the interaction of users is no longer necessary for it to infect a computer. This just goes to show that in the world of technology and computers, nothing is impenetrable and inaccessible.

 

Constantin, Lucian (April 2, 2012). PCWorld. Unpatched Java Vulnerability Exploited to Infect Macs with Flashback Malware. Retrieved April 29, 2012 from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/253009/unpatched_java_vulnerability_exploited_to_infect_macs_with_flashback_malware.html