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Researcher Says Intel Macs Could Invite More Exploits

Apple's switch from PowerPC to Intel-based Macs could lead to more attacks and cross-platform exploits, according to some researchers and solution providers.

OS X includes features that make it a target for malware, and the Intel-based Macs may be even more vulnerable than their PowerPC predecessors, according to security researcher Kevin Finisterre, who created the three recent versions of InqTana, a proof-of-concept worm that spreads through a vulnerability in the Bluetooth feature of OS X.

"I honestly think that the general "script kiddie" crowd is more familiar and comfortable on an Intel processor versus a PowerPC," said Finisterre. Simply moving from the 4-byte instructions that PowerPCs use to the 1-byte instructions Intel processors use lowers the bar for exploits, he added.

Certain techniques that couldn't be used on PowerPC Macs, such as exploiting unicode-based buffers, are commonly used to target Intel-based machines, said Finisterre.

When activated, the Inqtana worm scans for other Bluetooth-enabled devices and tries to transmit itself wirelessly to other machines. Finisterre alerted Apple of the vulnerability last month.

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