Humbled Apple Admits Hacking After Releasing Removal Tool

Here’s a shocking statistic, and one that Apple would NEVER want consumers to know…20% of Mac computers have been infected by some kind of malware.

That’s a high number from a company that touts the invulnerability of its OS. Now Apple is disclosing more chinks in its armor. Once Forbes went on record to say Apple is the most valuable company in human history, Apple has done its best to retain that reputation and avoiding any mention of weakness. But it looks like reality is trumping reputation for the tech juggernaut.

Apple Releases Quick Fix

After similar attacks on Facebook, Apple admitted its own systems were infected and released a removal tool a few months ago. This admission was far from a total disclosure of vulnerability. According to the official statement, no information ever left Apple and no real damage was done.

Apparently the attack was startling enough to require an additional software release. Consumers will probably never know, considering Apple’s legendary internal security. The company seems founded on the Vegas maxim “What happens on the island, stays on the island.”

Software Not the Only Access for Hackers

Apple’s OS is still one of the most secure ever designed (except for Linux, which is another story), but software is not the only way in. Recently, an experimental hacking team at the Georgia Institute of Technology created an inexpensive iPhone and iPad charger that can easily infect any iOS system and, eventually, the Mac OS as well. The significance of this experiment is obvious: how many Apple device owners haven’t looked for cheaper aftermarket accessories?

This isn’t the only time Apple hardware has been toppled. In 2011 professional hacker Charlie Miller created code that shut down the MacBook’s battery. Although this code did not leak out, it did create a sensation among hackers and programmers worldwide. It finally exposed an Achilles’ heel of the technology giant.

Apple is the New Everest for Hackers

Apple has learned a harsh reality: being the most valuable company in history paints a target on your back. Now, hackers and cybercriminals all over the world are salivating to bring down this giant. Not exactly welcome news. And no matter how much Apple invests in its software creation and security, the resources of black hat hackers will always be more. Ambition is the most effective motivator, for good or bad.

In Defense of Apple

No reader should think Apple is now a bad bet in software or hardware. Far from it. The software is still intuitive, speedy and easy-to-use. For all genres of media, it remains the standard and no hacking will change that anytime soon. The quality of the hardware is legendary and, of all devices available, holds its value better than any competitor. Just zip to eBay and auction a Zune from 2005 and an iPod from 2005, and see which gets the better price. Apple still defines quality.

But the ever-increasing skill of cybercriminals and our reliance on digital commerce make computer security essential now more than ever. Owning an Apple doesn’t mean being impervious to the viruses that plague PCs.  No matter how respected Apple is, being the best doesn’t mean being invincible. Even Superman had kryptonite.

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