Gone to the dark side..

Of companies and operating systems..  As a long term Window and Linux user with very little experience of Macs I recently made the move to the word of Apple.  While this is outside of the scope of my usual posts that tend to relate to enterprise security and architecture, I thought I would share as this is a pretty fundamental shift in my personal computing world.

I’m still not a fan of Apple as a company as I’m fundamentally against the whole ethos of locking people into a specific ecosystem with the clear intention of letting you only use that companies products and making it very hard to shift away once all your music etc is in iTunes / iWhatever.

However as a piece of hardware I totally love the Mac Book Pro, and the retina screen is amazing.

First impressions of the O/S are that it is OK, I seem to be getting around alright, and the ability to drop to a Linux command line is a great help.  The multi touch mouse pad is excellent, as is the ability to use it to ‘right click’ on links etc.  which is a great help!

So far I’ve installed Chrome, M$ office for Mac, Parallels, VLC, a few utilities and photo editing software.

I’m also pleasantly surprised by the battery life, given that this is a fairly powerful i7 CPU, Nvidia graphics (with automatic switching to Intel) etc.  even with the screen reasonably bright, and running a couple of virtual machines it still lasts several hours on the battery.

Overall so far very impressed, amazing screen, excellent battery life, great performance even when running multiple VMs, I think in part due to the decent SSD, and all in a lovely, relatively light weight aluminium package.  As mentioned still not really a fan of Apple as a company, but then how many large profit driven businesses really care about anything other than maximising profit? But I am a convert to the Mac Book as a useful and great to use tool.

I’ll likely post the odd update during the year as I get more used to the O/S and start exploring the performance and features of the device.

K

Malware everywhere, even on Apples..

Various sources have been reporting on the recent Java hole that enabled malicious individuals to infect upwards of 600,000 Apple Macs that were running the latest, fully patched version of the O/S.

This Java vulnerability was actually known about sometime last year and has been patched on other systems.  Apple in it’s continued, and frankly misguided, belief that it’s systems are safe and don’t need protection like anti-virus software chose not to patch the hole until 100s of thousands of it’s customers had been infected.

The reality is that all consumer computer systems have vulnerabilities and it should be the expected duty of vendors to patch these as quickly as possible to protect their customers and their privacy.

We have all knocked companies like Microsoft for the amount of vulnerabilities and attacks that have occurred against their software, but the reality is that over the last few years Microsoft has made huge progress in producing more secure software, patching in a very timely manner, providing free tools like anti-virus, and working with law enforcement to bring down criminal bot nets.

Apple has avoided many exploits being created as it has historically been such a niche player.  Why create an exploit for a few machines when you can create one for orders of magnitude more?  As Apple has become more successful and there has been an increased uptake of it’s products in office it has become a more interesting and valuable target for criminals to try and exploit any vulnerabilities.

It is time for Apple to pull it’s socks up from a security stand point, and to become both more proactive and transparent in how it deals with issues and helps protect it’s customers.

For us users of any operating system it’s yet another reminder that we should keep our systems patched and run software to protect us from viruses etc.  Oh and not to trust vendors when then tell us their systems are safe and don’t need further protection.

Some detail and commentary on this issue can be found here at the links below;

http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/04/04/apple-patches-java-hole-that-was-being-used-to-compromise-mac-users/?utm_source=Naked+Security+-+Sophos+List&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=a6d16b7680-naked%252Bsecurity

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57410476-37/apples-security-code-of-silence-a-big-problem/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20&tag=nl.e703

K