Mac and Linux viruses to rise 'significantly'

Virus guru Eugene Kaspersky warns of more attacks on Macs... and even the PlayStation 3

Barry Collins
24 Apr 2007

There will be a significant rise in virus attacks on both the Mac and open-source platforms, according to renowned security expert, Eugene Kaspersky.

The co-founder and head of anti-virus research at Kaspersky Labs claims that Vista's lukewarm reception will drive more customers towards alternative platforms, making them a more attractive target for malware writers. 'Home users are not so loyal to the OS. Not many of them are satisfied with Microsoft Vista,' Kaspersky told PC Pro. 'Some Windows users will switch to other OSes. Microsoft will not lose its dominance, but it will be reduced a bit.'

Kaspersky claims that Mac viruses are no more difficult to repel than Windows attacks, but says 'it's not so easy to find good [anti-virus] experts for non-Windows platforms.'

Open source presents more serious problems, however. 'More people are watching open-source code, so they are more quick to find problems. If the people who make the fix are good guys, that's great; if they are bad guys, that's a problem,' Kaspersky warns.

Vista doesn't escape Kaspersky's wrath, either. Although he agrees Vista is fundamentally more secure than XP, he says not all security vendors have perfected their software for Vista yet. 'Is a less protected XP with a ready set of security applications better than a more secure Vista with less developed security applications?' he asks. 'Microsoft paid a lot of attention to security [in Vista], but it means less flexibility for security vendors. It's like an airport - it's more secure than on the street, but there's less flexibility.'

New platforms to attack

Kaspersky also warned that malware writers are increasingly turning their attention to non-PC platforms, including consoles and smartphones. He even raised the prospect of PlayStation AV software. 'If there are viruses for the PlayStation 3, if the situation is such that we have to have protection for these devices, we will have products,' he says.

The Russian also claims that foreign malware experts are growing wise to new developments in the smartphone arena. 'The hackers who develop code for computers don't know how to write for smartphones [at present],' Kaspersky claims. '[However] this year they are going to introduce online banking through smartphones and Chinese hackers will turn to smartphone phishing,' he says.

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