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There's nothing the Landed Gentry of Security would love more than to make the Internet unsafe for everyone.

Suddenly all the Internet is ablaze with the latest supposed OS X exploit 'in the wild' discovered by Intego. And when it concerns IT's Duchy of Grand Fenwick things get unsettled fast.

Someone in the Ukraine might actually have an Apple computer. Woo-hoo. They're trying to recruit OS X boxes to a botnet. Nawty nawty.

They do this by peppering porn sites with links to a bogus codec. The codec (which isn't really a codec at all) comes packaged as a DMG which in turn is set to run an installer - which naturally is going to require the admin password so it can have root access.

Nothing suspicious there. People download funky codecs from porn sites all the time.

It's a scam - it's not some form of insidious programming code that corrupts an operating system and its security.

Not to say scams aren't dangerous: the Love Bug might be classified as a scam; the technique cited in the Hackers Handbook is a scam; scams can cause lots of damage.

But when the operating system itself is not at fault it's useless and pointless for the Landed Gentry of Security to use the scam as a means of selling more product.

Can Virus Barrier now warn users about the codec scam? Yes. Are other antivirus products on the way to do the same? Of course. Can users use common sense to not let themselves get so easily suckered in? Yes again. Do you need an antivirus product kept continually up to date to protect you against a single scam? No.

The Landed Gentry of Security wouldn't exist if Windows wasn't such a mess. Back in the days when MS-DOS disks and files had no protection at all it was possible for malware to attach to executables and hide in boot sectors. Windows today offers better (or at least more) security than MS-DOS but the system is still wide open and the Landed Gentry of Security still have a lucrative market.

Again: if the Landed Gentry of Security were really working in your best interests they'd tell you to abandon Windows. For that's the best and cheapest way to be safe. Bruce Schneier says so; OK he insists he and he alone still has to use it from time to time but still and all: the message is there. A good guess is Bruce Schneier is not a silent partner in an antivirus company.

Again: telling Windows users to jump ship is the only honest thing the antivirus companies can do.

But in increasing numbers people are in fact abandoning Windows for Linux and OS X. And they're safe. And this must worry the Landed Gentry a lot. If only they could convince people the alternative platforms were no safer they'd be guaranteed their Windows market for a long time.

So it makes good sense to capitalise on every last possible attack on Linux or OS X. And as OS X has a much bigger market than Linux and as Linux users are typically much more savvy about security OS X is the obvious 'attack vector'.

At one time or another they've all tried it - and often they fall flat on their faces when they do.



This is of course quite understandable: they've invested a lot of time in learning how Windows works but precious little time in figuring out how Unix works. There's been no reason to learn. There's no money in it. And most likely will never be.

One year ago this month F-Secure claimed to have uncovered an 'adware program' for OS X - but from the description given it was obvious that when it came to OS X F-Secure were anything but professional.

Now that a rogue codec installer for OS X popped up on a few porn sites it's time to start again.

Ryan Naraine picks up the ball at the Microsoft tool site ZDNet.

Organised identity thieves are using porn video lures to deliver malware to Mac OS X users, confirming fears among security researchers that it's only a matter of time before Apple's fast growing platform becomes a big malware target.

Dan Kaplan at SC Magazine US carries it farther.

Apple users, your days of worry free web surfing could be numbered.

Back when Code Red erupted in the summer of 2001 a member of the Landed Gentry of Security held a celebration bash for his cottage industry colleagues at his estate in Canada. They toasted their good fortune with pricey champagne.

Years ago John McAfee hired Steve Gibson to scare the bejeezus out of everyone with the story of the unstoppable Dark Avenger virus mutation engine; sales soared. Another time McAfee played the greedy media like a violin, pointing them to Michelangelo and predicting the total number of infections would be 'between 50,000 and 5,000,000'. He knew full well they'd print '5,000,000' and they did. Sales soared.

A few years back Rob Rosenberg put his mother in law's Windows box online with no protection whatsoever and through only common sense kept it clean.

And now we have another attack - one attack. And Dan Kaplan at SC Magazine US is warning OS X users.

Apple users, your days of worry free web surfing could be numbered.

Which is roughly the same thing he said a year ago when Oompa Loompa hit.

IT security experts warned Apple computer users not to be complacent over the potential of malware after discovering the first virus engineered to attack the Mac OS X platform... What concerns experts is the fact that a Mac platform, considered far superior to Windows in terms of security, can be infected with malware.

As Kevin Finisterre's Inq.Tana was submitted at about the same time the Landed Gentry had a field day. Kaplan got this gem of a quote from Vincent Weafer of Symantec.

We have speculated attackers would turn their attention to other platforms and two back to back examples of malicious code targeting OS X illustrates this emerging trend.

The posters at Slashdot often show a lot of perspicacity. 'giminy' submits the following.

To get infected, you have to:

1) Go to a porn site
2) Download a plugin from the porn site
3) Click 'OK' that you are downloading a .DMG file
4) Mount the .DMG
5) Go back to the Finder
6) Double-click the installer
7) Type in your account password
8) Click next a few times

'advocate one' adds the following immediately after.

and with windows... 1) Go to a porn site....

The Landed Gentry of Security would make OS X insecure if they could. The Landed Gentry of Security will make people believe it's insecure if they can. And at the end of the day there are two scams going on here.

'The only cure for stupidity is intelligence. If someone is stupid enough to download something, run it and give it the admin password, it will obviously be able to take control of the machine. No operating system or security software can stop that.'

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