x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

A bite out of Apple

The days of Apple's immunity to cyber-attacks may be over, as the world's largest company by value is also an increasingly enticing target.

You had to know this day would come. For two decades, Apple computer users looked pityingly down their noses at their poor, PC-bound peers as hackers exploited one flaw after another in the Microsoft operating systems. The giant of desktop computing, it seemed, was all too-often laid low by its own weaknesses.

But earlier this week, the Russian cybersecurity firm Dr Web reported that 600,000 Apple computers (including almost 300 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California) had been infected with Flashback Trojan, which could allow hackers to control a computer. The halcyon days of invulnerability seem to be at an end.

There were good reasons why Apple was relatively immune to cyber-attacks. The Macintosh OS did not allow as many programs to run automatically. And, more importantly, with minimal desktop market share, Apple was a far less enticing target than Bill Gates's behemoth.

These days, Apple is not just a cool shiny brand; it is the largest company by valuation in the world. These are boom times - not just for shareholders, but hackers and cybersecurity firms as well.