Kaspersky: Mac, Linux, BSD open for attack

Looming attacks will soon pop the security bubble enjoyed by Linux and Macintosh users, according to Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky.

The co-founder of IT security company Kaspersky Labs said Linux and Mac users will be "easy targets" for hackers and malware writers over the next few years.

"Modern operating systems are flawed by design," Kaspersky said, "including OpenBSD".

"Mac and Linux are not as secure as [users] think; criminals pay no attention to them at the moment, but they will be vulnerable -- easy targets.

"The problem is that customers design the operating systems (either within open source communities or via market demand) and they choose flexibility over security."

The most secure operating systems such as Symbian 9 and 10 and mobile platform Brew have been pushed aside for their more functional counterparts, according to Kaspersky.

"Secure operating systems are unlikely to emerge in the foreseeable future," he added.

He said the Achilles' heel of flexible, popular operating systems is that they run unsigned applications.

"It takes a long time to get a certificates for applications, so secure operating systems have a limited set of applications and services," Kaspersky said.

According to Kaspersky, secure operating systems only attract about 1 to 3 percent of users because of their functionality limitations.

PureHacking senior security consultant Chris Gatford said the platforms will be increasingly targeted as more people migrate to them.

"It is lucky that to date BSD and Mac users haven't really been targeted yet because there are proof-of-concept malware around and a few in the wild," Gatford said.

"Users will always want to run whatever they want, whenever they want, regardless of security concerns."

This story, "Kaspersky: Mac, Linux, BSD open for attack" was originally published by Computerworld Australia.

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