How Secure Will the Mac App Store Be?
Apple’s next adventure in the world of e-commerce is the Mac App Store. This would be an online store that will sell programs for the Mac OS X operating system. It’s supposed to be available for Snow Leopard users within 90 days if Steve Jobs’ latest announcement is to be believed.
The big question about the Mac App Store is how secure will it be? This store will let users download some pretty big programs including Garage Band. Obviously such big files would make perfect hiding places for Trojans viruses and other kinds of Malware.
It wouldn’t be hard for the latest Trojans to sneak into Mac App Store files and get into systems.
Malware at the Mac App Store
This means that Mac App Store raises a whole host of security questions for networks and systems run on Mac OS X. What if an employee at a company that uses Mac OS X or Max server goes to the Mac App Store and downloads iPhoto for their laptop and it contains a Trojan?
The whole network could quickly get infected and every file could be compromised. This isn’t such a far fetched scenario. Media reports indicate that there are now Trojans that can infect Mac OS X and IOS systems through Facebaook. It wouldn’t be hard for the hackers who thought those nasty things up to create something that sneaks in through Mac App Store.
Companies that use Mac systems might have to block out Mac App Store in order to keep this from happening. Individuals who buy software through Mac App Store including IT pros might also face this issue.
Hackers are Getting Better is Apple Up to the Job
Something to remember is that hackers have been able to break some pretty complex security systems. A target the size of the Mac App Store is going to be irresistible to hackers. This means it will only be matter of when not if Mac App Store’s security gets cracked and Malware gets distributed through it.
Indeed the distribution of big files to thousands or millions of customers all over the world seems like a perfect platform for hackers. It’s going to be interesting to see how Apple will protect it from them.
It might also be noted that keeping hackers out could be impossible because of the number of them and the resources available to them. Recent media reports indicate that foreign governments are spending millions developing new kinds of Malware designed to penetrate any security system.
The Stuxnet Trojan that recently penetrated industrial operating systems through flaws in Windows is a perfect example of this kind of attack. Internet speculation is that Israeli spies created it to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program. With that kind of thing out there it’s hard to see how the App Store will be kept secure.