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New exploit devised for the Mac

Most exploits posted on the web that make use of Mac viruses or malware are largely theoretical. But a researcher in Italy claims he has found a valid way to run hostile code on the Mac OS X.

The technique involves what the researcher, Vincenzo Iozzo, a reverse engineer at Zynamics GmbH, calls in-memory injection. The approach can put code into running processes and leave no trace of having ever been there.

According to The Register, Iozzo devised the exploit by discovering a way to bypass traditional means of loading binaries into the operating system.

Attacking the Apple Mac is notoriously difficult. Because Macs are based on Linux-like coding approach, it's one of the most secure systems, said Justin Esgar, president of Virtua Computers, an Apple system administrator.

“Anything that runs on the machine has to be installed by the user, unlike Windows which has ActiveX that can install something in the background," he told “There is no way to install unauthorized software on the Mac. There are no processes running in the background that would allow for such a thing.”

An Apple spokesperson did not respond Wednesday for comment.

This new exploit relies on Mach-O, short for Mach object file format, which is used in Mac OS X for native executables.

“The people subjected to this are coders," Esgar said. "Typically users do not compile random source code on their computer."

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