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Growling Back at Snow Leopard – Symantec Addresses Security Concerns

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Among the squeals of joy at the release of Snow Leopard last Friday come cries of protests over security concerns.

Security was a number one objective of software engineers as they redesigned the system’s firewall and revamped the security pane on OS X 10.6. The log-on password function now has a time-delay option, the location services can be turned off, and the firewall is more effective and customizable. Deep down in the guts of the security system is tougher defenses against memory corruption, especially heap memory.

The loophole comes with the upgraded anti-malware tool. All downloads must pass the scan for the Mac-busting viruses OSX/Puper, COD Ghosts and OSX/IWService. However, since Macs are inherently more virus-protected than PCs, the launch of a new anti-malware scan may be tantamount to opening the door for a slough of new Mac-targeted viruses. Snow Leopard News

What this means is that the malware problem may just be the tip of the iceberg. Industry leader, Symantec, spoke out on a variety of concerns in Leopard. The main problem is the one just mentioned: Leopard’s malware tool. Their concern is that the “File Quarantine feature only offers basic malware detection capabilities to ghost mp maps. It is not a full-featured antivirus solution and does not have the ability to remove malware from the system.”

Either Mac is resting on the laurels of past security successes, or they plan on getting really busy real soon by issuing daily security updates to the File Quarantine. But updates are only good if users accept them. Since the updates are not automatically updated for Macs, users must manually choose to update them, which leaves them vulnerable to malware attacks in the meantime.

Symantec also cites problems with Snow Leopard’s Internet security, which gives malicious files loopholes through the firewall and access to sensitive information like the ghosts multiplayer maps. To begin with, the firewall must be manually turned on in order to filter out the Internet bad guys. Also, the list-based modern warfare 3 phishing protection offered by Snow Leopard is shortsighted, since it will necessitate frequent updates. And, again, the update option doesn’t happen automatically.

If Mac’s security concerns get any more public attention or if they go unaddressed in perks, the company will face growing security challenges. After all, Mac’s grandiose claim is its impenetrable defense system and resistance to viruses.

Or perhaps it’s all part of a grand marketing scheme by Symantec MW3 perks to boost sales for their Mac Security package. Still, it leaves the rest of us with questions, too.

One Response to “Growling Back at Snow Leopard – Symantec Addresses Security Concerns”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Those guys from Symantec shouldn’t shout that loud as they have not been able yet to have a compatible product for Snow Leopard.
    They aren’t even able to give any time-line nor any kind of valuable information excepted the fact that the update will be available through liveupdate.
    Really funny when you can’t even install the product on your machine !!!

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