Recently, Mac OS X has been discovered as a Malware host by Symantec. This information was published by ZDNet in their iBotnet: Researchers find signs of zombie Macs article.
Malware hunters at Symantec have discovered a direct link between a malicious file embedded in pirated copies of Apple’s iWork 09 software and what appears to be the first Mac OS X botnet launching denial-of-service attacks. Writing in the current issue of Virus Bulletin (subscription required), researchers Mario Ballano Barcena and Alfredo Pesoli found two malware variants…
They describe this as the “first real attempt to create a Mac botnet” and notes the zombie Macs are already being used for nefarious purposes…
The article goes into detail on the botnet’s peer-to-peer engine, startup and encryption capabilities and configuration file structure and concludes that the person who wrote the malware is not the same as the person who actually ‘used’ it.
The code indicates that, wherever possible, the author tried to use the most flexible and extendible approach when creating it – and therefore we would not be surprised to see a new, modified variant in the near future,” the researchers added.
I had one major thought about this article once I read it. Why did this happen now, after so many years of being the “Better OS” in the fight against virus, malware, and spyware?
The answer is both simple and complex.
The simple answer is people are trying pirated software instead of purchasing a legal version. Many times this happens because a parent has a kid who knows how to easily obtain illegal software and thinks it is okay if it is easy for a kid to do it. Other times this happens because an unethical computer technician makes the recommendation or obtains the software for the person or business. These illegally pirated software titles have all kinds of malicious code added to the software and/or the installation utility.
The complex answer goes much deeper.
In today’s economy, people have to tighten the purse strings. However this doesn’t mean these same people do not need specific software titles any less. The software manufacturer’s aren’t going to lower the prices of their software, so people who would generally purchase legal software, may not be able to afford it now. The software they need is too expensive, so they look for other options. The cheapest option generally comes from illegal warez sites, where the same software is made available by hackers for free.
Not only is the same software made available online for FREE, on warez sites, but there are now options which allow you to install OS X on a PC. These HacINTOSH installation methods eliminate the need to spend extra money buying genuine Apple Macintosh Computer systems!
I have written about The ExpressHD EFiX Boot Processing Unit already. EFI-X is a hardware EFI solution, allowing you to install multiple operating systems on one system, while utilizing the EFI boot environment. I have not built a hack-INTOSH system using the EFI-X, although I have read about it.
Pages 28 – 33 of Maximum PC – Special Issue – Summer 2009 – “PC How to Guide” talks about the EFI-X adapter.
This same EFI-X adapter is mentioned on Page 17 of the July 2009 – Issue 183 of the Linux Journal.
The EFI-X adapter is brought up in other Linux Magazines too!
The EFI-X adapter plugs into a USB header on supported motherboards, allowing for the EFI environment needed to run OSX native on a PC. Both articles, as well as others, mention or elude to the likelihood of this EFI-X apparatus violating Apple’s EULA. This EULA violation is most likely due to OS X only supposed to be installed on Genuine Apple hardware. (This leaves some question in my mind about installing your own upgrades to the hardware, such as hard drives, CD/DVD devices and RAM, being potential violations of the Apple EULA.)
I see two major issues at first glance at the EFI-X adapter.
- It only supports a specific motherboard chipset and/or configuration.
- The EFI-X takes up and entire USB header on the motherboard. It can only be plugged into the header either directly or through a dongle, thus eliminating a usable header on the motherboard and possibly taking up much needed space in/around the motherboard for other devices and/or cooling.
THE iATKOS HACKED OS X ISO
Daily Apps.net published Hack Attack : Install Leopard On your PC in Just One Step, outlining how to install OS X via a patched DVD.ISO called iATKOS.
The iATKOS ISO image, includes an EFI hack/work-a-round so that you can install OS X on any PC. (Definitely a violation of the Apple EULA!) You have to download it via torrents.
I have tried this installation option (merely for educational purposes. I don’t/didn’t try selling it!). Before I tried this installation option, I purchased a legal version of the Mac OS X installation disks (Don’t think this makes the iATKOS ISO any more legal, just had the disks for comparison and to perform a legal installation on a real MACINTOSH).
The installation worked okay, after I went through some hoops, verifying supported hardware set and so on. Once installed, the OS X updates worked okay, however some attempts at the updates would freeze/crash my system.
I have since quit using the iATKOS system and discarded the ISO/disks for two reasons.
- I started noticing weird/unauthorized network traffic on the system running the iATKOS hacked OS X.
- I have used Macs in the past. Grew up on them, and used them through Grade school, middle school, high school and part of college. I never had issues upgrading the OS, nor did I have the freeze-ups/crashes I had with the iATKOS installation.
After going through all the articles and my own test, my conclusion is simple:
- Apple’s OS X is best run on a Macintosh. So I bought an older G4 system to play with. (I’m using it now to type this out on!) I’m getting ready to buy a Mac Pro Desktop, as soon as I can settle on which one I want.
- OS X compatible software works best when a legal version is purchased from an authorized retailer
After making such a conclusion, I recommend GENUINE Apple Macintosh computers for use in any computing environment.
- If you are a *NIX user, and do most of your work/management in the terminal/command line, OS X is perfect for you.
- If you are a Micro$Lop Windoz user (I really do feel sorry for you), but take issue with Micro$lop’s “BUILT IN” issues, OS X runs Micro$lop Windoz XP Pro better than a Windoz PC. There are a number of solutions you can use, but I like using Oracle VM VirtualBox
- If you need a stable server, Apple OS X has a server edition, and many server utility companies make software for the Mac to be used as a server.
- If you are a gamer, the Macintosh has better graphics and performance than any Micro$lop Windoz PC on the market. If you are conserned about your PC games, don’t be! If you can’t get it in a Mac version, you can continue your play, running Windoz in a VM, thanks to Oracle VM VirtualBox
The only acceptable argument against Apple Hardware/Software is the up front expense. However, this argument doesn’t really hold much water with me. Consider the initial cost of Windoz-based systems and then add in all the time they spend malfunctioning (BSoD), in repair, down with viruses and their incessant need for OS Updates.
Macs are far better suited for using multiple OS platforms. So why not buy GENUINE Apple Hardware/Software?