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Risk

8/25/2009
05:05 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Is Snow Leopard Coming With Antivirus?

Apple security firm Intego posted a hint that Snow Leopard, the new Macintosh operating system that is due for release this Friday, may contain some level of anti-malware detection.

Apple security firm Intego posted a hint that Snow Leopard, the new Macintosh operating system that is due for release this Friday, may contain some level of anti-malware detection.While there are plenty of snazzy features in the upcoming operating system, Apple certainly isn't promoting many security enhancements. In fact, after souring Apple's Web site there are few security refinements that I could even find. I'll have to wait until Friday to learn more.

Apple has updated Snow Leopard to restore deleted items to their original location - not a big deal, but handy and should had of been done long ago. Also, Time Machine backups are purportedly 80 percent faster to Time Capsule. While Safari 4 (not a Snow Leopard specific enhancement) is more stable and runs plug-ins in their own distinct processes. There's also new built-in support for Cisco VPNs, which will be welcomed by administrators supporting Mac in some enterprise environments.

The most interesting security related enhancements I could dig up on Snow Leopard this week didn't come from Apple, but security firm Intego's blog, which claims "Snow Leopard Contains an Antivirus":

We've gotten reports about an interesting feature in Snow Leopard, the new version of Mac OS X due for release this Friday. According to reports we've seen - and the screen shot below - Snow Leopard contains an antimalware feature.

We're not sure yet exactly how this works, but the above screen shot shows this feature working with a download made via Safari, detecting a version of the RSPlug Trojan horse in a downloaded disk image.

The screen shot can be viewed on Intego's blog.

It'd be great news if true, as OS X is increasingly being targeted by malware, but I'll still use my third-party anti-virus software -- just as I do on my Windows systems. I just don't trust software and operating system companies to have the necessary resources to dedicate to rapid signature development.

Thanks to analyst Rich Mogull for the tweet that brought this to my attention.

If you'd like my mobile business and security observations, you can find me on Twitter.

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