Earlier this month, a group of hackers was spotted using a set of malicious tools—that originally gained popularity with online video game cheaters—to hide their Windows-based malware from being detected.
Sounds unique, right?
Frustratingly, it isn't, as the specific security loophole that was abused by the hackers has been around for years, and Microsoft's response, or lack thereof, is actually a telling illustration of the competing security environments within Windows and macOS. Even more perplexing is the fact that Apple dealt with a similar issue nearly 10 years ago, locking down the way that certain external tools are given permission to run alongside the operating system's critical, core internals.
Today, on the Lock and Code podcast with host David Ruiz, we speak with Malwarebytes' own Director of Core Tech Thomas Reed about everyone's favorite topic: Windows vs. Mac. But this isn't a conversation about the original iPod vs. Microsoft's Zune (we're sure you can find countless, 4-hour diatribes on YouTube for that), but instead about how the companies behind these operating systems can respond to security issues in their own products. Because it isn't fair to say that Apple or Microsoft are wholesale "better" or "worse" about security. Instead, they're hampered by their users and their core market segments—Apple excels in the consumer market, whereas Microsoft excels with enterprises. And when your customers include hospitals, government agencies, and pretty much any business over a certain headcount, well, it comes with complications in deciding how to address security problems that won't leave those same customers behind.
Still, there's little excuse in leaving open the type of loophole that Windows has, said Reed:
"Apple has done something that was pretty inconvenient for developers, but it really secured their customers because it basically meant we saw a complete stop in all kernel-level malware. It just shows you [that] it can be done. You're gonna break some eggs in the process, and Microsoft has not done that yet... They're gonna have to."
Tune in today.
Show notes and credits:
Intro Music: “Spellbound” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
Outro Music: “Good God” by Wowa (unminus.com)