Originally Posted by extremeskater
Your reading gets more and more selective.
"Unsurprisingly, Charlie Miller, principal security analyst with Independent Security Evaluators, took home the $10,000 prize after he hacked Safari on a MacBook Pro without having access to the machine"
This would be called hacking via remote access.
'There are two lessons for businesses to learn about security here, right off the bat. First, using Apple hardware and software is not an adequate defense, in and of itself. Despite the common perception that the Mac OS X operating system is just inherently more secure than Windows, the reality is that the primary reason Macs aren't attacked and compromised more often is that the platform with 92 percent market share promises malware developers a significantly higher return on investment than the platform with 5 percent market share."
Let's lay this down, and geekdad you can chime in as needed. First and foremost, Charlie Miller spends most of the year running exploits against various platforms well in advance of the contest - he has stated as much previous to successful attempts other years. So the time it takes for him to do this as reported by the organizers doesn't reflect the actual effort to accomplish it. He's an accomplished security expert, and I think he's doing the right thing by not turning over the fuzzing vunerabilities but instead the process by which he was able to fuzz out the exploits.
Second. I am a technology manager and to say that this scenario in any way reflects actual vulnerability in the corporate setting is silly and ignorant of the dedicated efforts of many teams protecting our environments. Everything from proxy controls to edge guardianship and plain old log-checking and packet sniffing and significantly more than that. Our security and vulnerabilities teams are constantly checking known attack vectors as well as doing general patrol for suspicious activity. We are more threatened by some internal idiot laptop packer who decides to download a cool "free" app than anything else. And we have controls on that as well.
Third. Stop already with the security by obscurity myth. While the presence of a mere 40 or so million Macs currently in operation world-wide is a small population compared to the combined consumer and business population dependent on Windows, it is still 40 or so million
pristine, virginal platforms to compromise - a potential 'bot army which if properly compromised would dwarf any of the existing Windows 'bot armies out in the wild. The reality of the situation is simply this. If you go back to pre 2001, Mac OS 9 had as many virus issues and vulnerabilities as the Windows platform with only 1-2% of the PC market. In fact Apple regularly bundled Norton with the Macs during that period, and consistently directed purchasers to get anti-virus software and install it. However with the on-boarding of the NeXT dev team and the introduction of the mach kernel into the MacOS, the scenario changed considerably. With the complete rewrite of the MacOS as MacOS X (10) around the mach kernel Apple took a huge gamble. They risked alienating their diminuitive user base by doing this, but didn't have a lot to lose at that point. Released in 2001, MacOS X marked the point at which the OS vulnerability became signifcantly reduced due to this bottom-up rewrite of the OS. As Apple slowly phased out the old OS9 classic environment from MacOS X, the security increased.
Microsoft is not in a position to do something this radical with Windows. They are constrained by their ownership of the corporate environments and their OEM partnerships. In fact our company has dedicated Microsoft consultants onsite in several places to keep the considerable footprint of the Windows environments up and running. Microsoft can only keep working away at checking the millions of lines of code it has in the Windows OS and watch closely for any surprises out in the wild. Apple, while in slightly better shape still has a lot of open source code it uses and which causes potential vulnerabilities to crop up. There is no such thing as virus or hacker proof, unless it is locked away and never touched.
I've been in the technology segment for nearly 40 years, I'm older than DOS and silicon microprocessors, Microsoft certified, coded in more languages than most of the young engineers I have to shepherd around my org know exist, and have advised on the engineering council for my company. I am not only an eye-witness to the entire development of Microsoft and Apple, and all the rest, I have been an active participant as well.