Apple has quietly removed statements on their website and presumably from future literature that says the Mac operation system (OS X) is virus proof. It’s website used to say that OS X “doesn’t get PC viruses” and now says, instead, “It’s built to be safe.”
This means two things: first, Apple is finally acknowledging that they aren’t “immune” to anything and second, by that acknowledgment, they’re taking security a little more seriously.
The Flashback Botnet changed everything.
When the Flashback botnet attacked computers and made the big time last year and early this, it hit a population of computer users who, until now, had felt themselves relatively safe from virus or similar attacks. Flashback, however, attacked Mac computers specifically and was the first widespread virus to be publicly acknowledged as doing so.
About 670,000 computers worldwide were affected and 98% of those were Mac OS X machines. Apple was slow to respond, by analyst’s claims, largely because they were ill prepared to deal with something of this nature. Apple, at its very core, is a closed-door place where secrets are heavily guarded and technology is kept close to the vest. That is the exact opposite of what is required in a corporate culture when a virus spread is underway.
Apple responds tangibly.
While the changes to Apple’s website are telling, other quiet changes that didn’t get the marketing glitz that other upgrades to Apple products usually do, were also released.
When OS X 10.8 (called Mountain Lion) releases, it will include a new feature called Gatekeeper that restricts which applications users can install on their devices. This will likely work in a way very similar to user level restrictions in Windows.
Further, Apple has also released security guidelines for the iOS system used in iPhones and iPads. The guide focuses on possible vulnerabilities (usually due to user apathy) on these devices and how to be vigilant against them.
These moves show that Apple is at least beginning to address security in their products.