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Ex-NSA security expert BLASTS Apple

Ex-NSA security expert BLASTS Apple
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Macs have long had a reputation as the safest computer choice out there. They might be wrong. According to former NSA staffer Patrick Wardle, Apple's security tools for its OS X operating system aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Apple's built-in mechanisms - Gatekeeper, XProtect anti-malware, sandboxing and kernel code-signing requirements - are "easy to get around" and "trivially exploitable," according to Wardle.

Most anti-virus software for Macs can detect many of the threats out there, but Wardle is worried that Apple is not prepared to defend Macs against more advanced threats from state-sponsored hackers.

During the course of his research Wardle also found a way to circumvent Apple's recent fix for the "rootpipe" privilege escalation vulnerability in OS X. Wardle also coded his own malware to see if a variety of third-party anti-malware utilities could detect it. They all failed.

Wardle also discovered a way to get around OS X's Gatekeeper protection, which would let him to inject malicious code into legitimate downloads.

Next page: How can Apple improve security?
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