It may have been a subtle switch in wording, but Apple’s latest description of its own security features rings in a new age, a day when not even the Mac is safe from botnets and hackers. In the wake of the Flashback botnet specifically targeted at Macs, the company removed its Mac website statement that “It doesn’t get PC viruses,” replacing it with “It’s built to be safe.”
Similarly, “Safeguard your data. By doing nothing” was replaced by “Safety. Built in.” A comparison of the two files can be found at this Sophos news site.
“I view the changes in the messages pushed out by their marketing department as some important baby-steps,” Graham Cluley, a security expert at Sophos, wrote in a blog post. “Let’s hope more Apple Mac owners are also learning to take important security steps — such as installing antivirus protection.”
The Flashback botnet infected Mac machines through a hole in Java software, netting hackers as much as $10,000 a day at the height of its tyranny. Though Oracle had patched the hole in February, it took Apple until April to fix its own hole. The malware worked to take Google’s share it made on paid clicks.
Still, Flashback wasn’t the only virus to turn Apple’s security statement on its head. Mac Defender, which masqueraded as virus protection, infected a number of Macs in 2011, according to the New York Times.
Windows computers have always born the brunt of cyber attacks because of the platform’s popularity. However, as Apple gains greater footing in the PC market, currently at 12 percent and growing, hackers have more to gain by targeting the Mac platform, upping the ante of liquidity. In this new age of cyber crime, it’s always best to keep the front door locked, no matter the device or manufacturer.