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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Solution Providers Note Potential Problems Caused by New Intel Macs

According to solution providers and other experts, Apple’s endeavors to change from PowerPC format to Intel-based Macs could make them more vulnerable to cross-platform attacks and other issues.

OS X offers features that make it susceptible to malware, and the Intel-based Mac computers may be even more at risk for infection than PowerPC’s. Security researcher Kevin Finisterre created three recent versions of InqTana, a worm that spreads through a hole in the Bluetooth aspect of OS X.

Finisterre and other solution providers believe that in general people will be more comfortable using the Intel processors than a PowerPC, and that the simplicity of the Intel processors makes users more trusting and exploratory, and therefore makes it simpler for hackers to create problems. He states that many malicious techniques that could not be carried out on PowerPC Macs, including taking advantage of Unicode-based buffers are used to damage Intel-based computers.

When set off, the Inqtana worm scans for Bluetooth-enabled devices and attempts to send itself through wireless connections to other machines. Finisterre was responsible for telling Apple about this issue last month, at which point Apple quickly released a patch.

The XD security technology that has been added to newer Intel processors may make the new Macs less susceptible to problems. XD, short for “Execute Disable” prevents viruses by disallowing the execution of specific types of codes. If Apple uses this program diligently, Finisterre feels attacks could be prevented much more easily.

The Inqtana worm is one of a few new OS X security issues that has been uncovered recently. In February, researchers and solution providers found a virus that could attack the Safari browser and allow malware onto the machine, along with a Trojan Horse virus that is transmitted through iChat instant messaging. In January, four separate critical security issues were found in the Apple QuickTime and iTunes applications.

Spokespeople at Apple and many that have encountered problems state that Apple has been very quick to solve recent problems. Many feel that despite recent issues, new Intel-based Macs are not necessarily more of a target for malware than other machines. But new applications that have been developed in the Intel arena may create more serious problems with cross-platform attacks. Apple and other solution providers advise users to be much more watchful when using their Macs from now on.

Added By: Computer Consulting 101 Professional Kit