Apple references security in Snow Leopard announcement

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With Monday's announcement that Apple's next Mac OS X version, Snow Leopard, is due out in September, the company posted to its website a slew of features that the new platform will contain.

And with that came a rarely seen acknowledgment from Apple regarding security.

"Innocent-looking files downloaded over the internet may contain malicious applications, or malware, in disguise," a page on Apple's website said. "The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box...However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, anti-virus software may offer additional protection."

The page also lists a number of Mac OS X security features, such as sandboxing, which helps prevent what a malicious program can do on a user's PC, and Execute Disable, which can safeguard memory if an attack occurs.

This appears to be Apple's first public reference to security since December, when it published -- and then subsequently removed -- a support document encouraging Mac OS X users to use anti-virus software.

Mac security solutions provider Intego said in a memo Wednesday that the more information that Apple publishes on security, the more informed customers will be.

"Apple has finally recognized what Intego has been saying for years: that Macs are not immune to viruses and malware," Intego CEO Laurent Marteau said.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computing giant often bears criticism from the security industry over what they perceive to be brash claims concerning the security of Mac OS X versus Windows. Others have questioned how effectively Apple responds to vulnerabilities.

In a blog post last week, security analyst Rich Mogull of Securosis listed five suggestions for Apple.

They included appointing a chief security officer, adopting a secure software development program and creating a security response team.

An Apple spokeswoman did not return a call for comment.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, security firm ParetoLogic disclosed a new Mac malware variant disguised as porn.


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