Leopard spotted with more problems

Written by Phil Cogar

November 1, 2007 // 1:32 p.m.

Tags: #apple #firewall #flaws #leopard #max-os-x #security #viruses

Following shortly after installation issues, more problems are arising about Apple’s newly released OS X upgrade. Leopard, which came hailing hundreds of new features apparently has some features Apple failed to disclose. Heise Security, a private UK security firm, has found multiple leaks in the Leopard firewall that may give viruses and other malware direct access to your system.

One major issue is that when upgrading, even users who had the firewall activated on their previous install will find it deactivated once they fire Leopard up. Worse than that is that even once activated, the Leopard firewall has many holes that can allow outside sources to access both system data and user data.

The Apple firewall, similar to newer versions of Windows firewalls, is also capable of ground-level virus scanning. Unfortunately the Leopard firewall failed to detect viruses that infiltrated the system while the firewall was disabled, even after it was reactivated. Basically, users who haven’t noticed their firewall deactivated may potentially already be infected with malware that won’t be caught by Apple’s software, even after you reactivate it.

This isn’t the first time OS X has had serious security flaws. It has always had comparatively sub-par virus protection, and companies that provide additional virus scanning software don’t tend to focus on OS X nearly as heavily as Windows. This could be due to a few things – not the most subtle of which is market share.

Though Apple has made great advancements in the market since OS X was first released and has been gaining popularity even more rapidly since the company partnered with Intel, it still doesn’t have anywhere close to the saturation of Windows. OS X holds around 6.5% of the OS market currently, with all versions of Windows holding over 90% (statistics sourced from here).

Apple fans will always bring up two points to establish OS X’s seniority over Windows: how foolproof it is to install, and how secure it is. In the last few days we’ve seen news contradicting both of these points.

Are you considering OS X and having second thoughts in light of recent news? Tell us your thoughts over in the forums.

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