Security Threats Branch Out From Windows To Mac And Linux - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Security Threats Branch Out From Windows To Mac And Linux

Hackers still love Windows and other Microsoft gear, but they're increasingly targeting alternative operating systems, particularly Linux and Mac.

While Windows and other Microsoft Corp. products are the favorite targets of hackers, the malicious code writers are increasingly targeting software that run on other operating systems, including Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac and open-source Linux, a security research group said Monday.

In its list of the top 20 most critical Internet vulnerabilities in the first quarter of the year, the Sans Institute reported that software fixes were released for flaws in RealNetworks Inc.'s RealOne Player and RealPlayer. Security flaws were found in versions of the multimedia players running on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

In addition, vulnerabilities were listed for Apple's iTunes music player, versions prior to 4.7.1, which runs on Windows and the Mac OS, as well as the Winamp mulitmedia player for Windows from Nullsoft, and the Helix Player for Linux.

"Hackers haven't stopped attacking Microsoft products, but they've started attacking everything else as well," Alan Paller, director of research for Sans said. "The reason is this is a huge criminal business now. Capturing another 100,000 computers to be used for spam can be worth a million bucks."

The current trend among hackers is to spread through e-mail viruses that exploit a variety of popular software that people install on their computers, such as multimedia software and music players.

"The attackers are going after the programs you buy to install on your computer, rather than the programs that come with your computer," Paller said.

To close vulnerabilities in programs such as iTunes or RealPlayer, users often have to download the latest version, rather than just a patch, which is commonly used to fix operating-system flaws. As a result, consumers with dial-up connections are often most vulnerable, because they are the least likely to take the time to download the latest software, Paller said.

Besides multimedia players, patches were released in the first quarter for several Microsoft products, including the Windows License Logging Service, the Microsoft Server Message Block and Internet Explorer browser.

Patches also were released for Computer Associates International Inc.'s License Manager, which is found in most of its storage, security and database products; and versions of Oracle Corp.'s 9i, 8i and 8 databases; Application Server, Collaboration Suite and E-Business Suite.

Patches also were released for antivirus products from Symantec Corp., F-Secure Corp., Trend Micro Inc. and McAfee Inc.

Details on the vulnerabilities and patches are available on the Sans Institute website.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll