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For-profit Mac attacks could increase this year: Sophos

For-profit attacks on Apple's Mac operating system could become more common in 2008 because of the platform's increasing market share, according to Sophos.

Although nearly all financially motivated cyberattacks will target Windows PCs in 2008, some cybercriminals will devote more effort to hacking Macs because of their increasing popularity, the Boston-based supplier revealed in its Security Threat Report 2008.

The OSX/RSPlug trojan was first planted on malicious websites last November to infect Mac users for phishing and identity theft, according to Sophos researchers.

“I think it's fair to say there will be more for-profit attacks in general, and that could lead to more that could be concentrated on Mac. In general, all boats rise with the tide,” he said. “I also think that these cybercriminal gangs look at this in terms of campaigns, and if they're going to devote a cycle to OS X or Leopard, they see a profit in devoting cycles to that.”

Last October, researchers at Intego spotted a DNS-changer trojan targeting Macs from pornography sites that was used to hijack search results and divert traffic to malicious websites.

Sophos also disclosed that Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices, such as the iPhone and the iPod Touch, could open another attack vector for hackers. Vulnerabilities have been found on the Safari web browser installed on both devices.

The first iPhone trojan was discovered earlier this month, but researchers said it was only harmful in that it overwrites some applications. Called “iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep” by its creator, the malicious package purported to be “an important system update.”

Haro downplayed that threat, telling that he wasn't sure in-the-wild attacks on the iPhone and iPod Touch would emerge this year.

“So far, we've seen only proof-of-concept attacks on those mobile devices and we might just see more of that in 2008,” he said.

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