Lots of Mac users think their operating system is more secure than Windows, but security expert Charlie Miller further shattered this perception by disclosing a record-breaking 20 zero day Mac OS X security holes at the CanSecWest security conference. Miller claims that while Mac users suffer from fewer attacks than Windows users, the operating system is less secure than Windows. He compares Mac OS X to living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows to a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town.
The approximately 20 zero-day holes are contained in closed source Apple products, said Miller. "OS X has a large attack surface consisting of open source components (i.e. webkit, libz, etc), closed source 3rd party components (Flash), and closed source Apple components (Preview, mdnsresponder, etc). Bugs in any of these types of components can lead to remote compromise", he emphasised.
Miller discovered the new vulnerabilities by fuzzing, a process which involves bombarding an application's input channels with as much corrupted data as possible. His presentation is subtitled: "An analysis of fuzzing 4 products with 5 lines of Python". The expert explained: "The talk is about what you really find when you fuzz and it tries to draw conclusions about what to expect in the future when you fuzz a mature product." Parts of the presentation apparently consist of statistics, for instance, about which percentage of flaws causes crashes, and which percentage can be exploited remotely.