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Hacker: Microsoft More Secure Than Apple, Adobe

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 70 comments

Microsoft is doing things better than Apple and Adobe, according to a career hacker.

Marc Maiffret got into hacking not long after he got his first computer as a schoolboy, and by age 17, he was a known hacker who was greeted one morning by an FBI agent who held a gun to his face.

Since then, Maiffret turned his life around and helped to co-found eEye Digital Security, a company dedicated to finding security flaws in Microsoft's software. Last December, he joined anti-malware firm FireEye as chief security architect.

For all his work trying to find holes in Microsoft's products, Maiffret now says that the Windows maker has the best practices when it comes to software security.

"Now when you look at Microsoft today they do more to secure their software than anyone. They're the model for how to do it. They're not perfect; there's room for improvement. But they are definitely doing more than anybody else in the industry, I would say," Maiffret told CNet in an interview. "From an internal process in how they go about auditing their code and securing software from a technical perspective, they do have one of the best models. The area they still have room for improvement is around time lines of how long it takes for them to fix things."

Maiffret is now pointing to Adobe and Apple as being companies who are lacking in the security department. "They are starting to get black eyes with people saying Adobe is a bigger worry than Microsoft is at the moment, which I agree with. As those things are happening, Adobe and Apple and other companies are starting to pay attention and care more. But a year ago, it was still very much a marketing thing. People from both companies treated it as a marketing problem. They didn't have good technical structures behind the scenes."

Apple has hired an industry-noted security employee formerly of Microsoft, but Maiffret still says that Apple's very much behind when it comes to security. "They've really only begun in the last six months or so taking security seriously and understanding that it impacts their business in a serious way."

Referring to Apple, Maiffret said,"It's even a little scarier with them because they try to market themselves as more secure than the PC, that you don't have to worry about viruses, etc. Anytime there's been a hacking contest, within a few hours someone's found a new Apple vulnerability. If they were taking it seriously, they wouldn't claim to be more secure than Microsoft because they are very much not. And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple. The reason we don't see more attacks out there compared to Microsoft is because their market share isn't near what Microsoft's is."

Maiffret continued, "I think Microsoft does a better job with their code auditing than folks like Apple do. We've only seen a scratching of the surface as far as Apple vulnerabilities because nobody cares to find them. There's nothing inherent with Apple themselves and their development. The only reason Apple gets little increase in security is because they're running on top of a Unix-based operating system and they can take advantage of some of the things that have been done for them."

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Top Comments
  • 46 Hide
    CoderDunn , April 16, 2010 10:58 PM
    I like this guy, he knows what hes talking about =)
  • 35 Hide
    gekko668 , April 16, 2010 11:19 PM
    Wow this article put all Mac fanboy to shame. They shouldn't read this article because its only make their blood boil.
  • 35 Hide
    aznguy0028 , April 16, 2010 11:42 PM
    "And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple."

    I think reading that statement has made my entire week :)  If you guys don't see me again, it means the Apple zealots has silenced me w/orders from Brother Jobs. :( 
Other Comments
  • 46 Hide
    CoderDunn , April 16, 2010 10:58 PM
    I like this guy, he knows what hes talking about =)
  • 32 Hide
    cabose369 , April 16, 2010 11:01 PM
    Not really a surprise as the results of the hacking contest every year held in Vancouver also result in the Apple OS being hacked first.
  • 33 Hide
    accolite , April 16, 2010 11:12 PM
    So much for apple saying they are more secure!
  • 29 Hide
    abbadon_34 , April 16, 2010 11:15 PM
    Well said.
  • 35 Hide
    gekko668 , April 16, 2010 11:19 PM
    Wow this article put all Mac fanboy to shame. They shouldn't read this article because its only make their blood boil.
  • 35 Hide
    aznguy0028 , April 16, 2010 11:42 PM
    "And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple."

    I think reading that statement has made my entire week :)  If you guys don't see me again, it means the Apple zealots has silenced me w/orders from Brother Jobs. :( 
  • 11 Hide
    elel , April 16, 2010 11:56 PM
    Well enough picking on apple - adobe is really worrying me me now - since everyone has to use flash.
  • 26 Hide
    Marco925 , April 17, 2010 12:44 AM
    BLASPHEMY! MACS DO NOT GET VIRUSES

    /sarcasm
  • 20 Hide
    huron , April 17, 2010 1:08 AM
    It's nice to hear someone who downplay Apple's "security through obscurity" message - just because no one cared as much about you does not mean you are secure.

    The one that worries me, as mentioned above, is Adobe - they are perpetually leaving open holes in their poorly coded software. Unfortunately, their products are popular and commonplace.
  • 20 Hide
    Bolbi , April 17, 2010 1:35 AM
    huronThe one that worries me, as mentioned above, is Adobe - they are perpetually leaving open holes in their poorly coded software. Unfortunately, their products are popular and commonplace.

    Exactly. Adobe Reader alternatives exist, but how many users have ever heard of Sumatra or Foxit? Adobe Reader is bundled with just about every piece of optical-drive-installed software that has a pdf user guide, and that's a large majority.
    As for Flash and Shockwave, the final HTML5 spec can't come soon enough...
    Back on topic, this isn't a surprise. It's amazing how many Mac lovers don't understand the difference between safety and security. As this article says, Macs fail at security. They may be safer for awhile, but only because of the lack of malware for them. I'm actually surprised that Macs haven't been targeted more, since I generally think of most Mac users as:
    1) Rich; a lot of money to be scammed out of them!
    2) Less computer literate, since they want a computer that just works out of the box instead of customizing it themselves, like Windows and Linux (even more with the latter).
    I understand those two characteristics don't describe every Mac user; I'm speaking of them as a group.
  • 4 Hide
    techguy911 , April 17, 2010 1:43 AM
    Odd he did not mention java oracle is doing a very bad job as far as plugging security holes in java many java exploits result in you getting infected by all these fake av's the hole was around for over a year and the exploit was being widely used to inject fake av's into computers with java pre 20 patch.

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9175597/Oracle_issues_emergency_Java_patch_to_stop_zero_day_attacks
  • 24 Hide
    evolve60 , April 17, 2010 1:59 AM
    Quote:
    And the Apple community is pretty ignorant to the risks that are out there as it relates to Apple.


    This sums up their community and CEO
  • 18 Hide
    orionantares , April 17, 2010 2:01 AM
    It's sad just how arrogant Jobs really is with his products. This isn't security related but remembering back to Jobs' statement about Macs being so stable and the only thing that crashes a Mac is Flash and how he doesn't want Flash going on the the iPhone and Touch etc. Well I was remembering that earlier today when my iPod Touch crashed while trying to load up an app and then thinking about it and realizing that my Touch crashes more frequently than any of my Windows PCs.
  • 7 Hide
    yose3 , April 17, 2010 2:13 AM
    that trueee
  • 8 Hide
    andy5174 , April 17, 2010 2:40 AM
    Good to know this as I prefer windows and really hate Mac. BTW, Mac PCs that don't come with windows OS are always free 99% of the time even when all the windows PC are occupied at my university.
  • -6 Hide
    dannyaa , April 17, 2010 2:41 AM
    evolve60This sums up their community and CEO


    Unnecessary as well as inaccurate, particularly the reference to Jobs.

    Hopefully Apple will step it up with OSX 10.7 before it comes back to bite them. It's only a matter of time before hackers take advantage of this and Apple is caught with their pants down. Perhaps it is time for them to take a page from Microsoft this time around.
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