With the current disaster involving a virus that is spreading to Apple Macintosh computers and causing a disaster normally associated with the Microsoft Windows platform that is infamous for being virus prone. But all closed source operating systems are prone to a vulnerability or two if the code is not available for peer review. That is the strength of the open-source operating systems such as the Linux kernel and associated software that makes up a Linux distribution such as Debian or Linux Mint. The Macintosh operating system is built on top of the free and open-source Darwin UNIX operating system, you are only paying for the Apple software that is placed on top of that free operating system, the UNIX base that the expensive Macintosh computers run. I used to have an Apple Ipod and I have used Itunes on Windows and I have experimented with an Apple Imac and I actually like the Macintosh OS, the GUI is pretty stylish, but the closed source Apple software has quite a lot of security holes and this is only the beginning for Apple in terms of the exploits that will be used against them once they become available. Once they are commonly known, crackers will make use of them and discover more security holes to exploit. They will need to roll out security patches quickly. The security exploits will harm a lot of users if they are not fixed.
Sure, Debian requires a lot of patches to fix security issues, but no operating system is truly immune to security issues, but Linux has less of a mainstream user base than Windows and Macintosh and this means that the operating system with the larger install base will be a more worthwhile target. The Microsoft operating systems have been a target of viruses ever since the old DOS days and nothing much has changed since then. Nowadays the Apple Macintosh operating system is facing an assault by Malware that has normally attacked Windows. Now that some people have had success with this attack, they will be searching for more attack vectors to do further damage to the Macintosh operating system and cause much damage to the reputation of the Apple corporation as a whole. The Macintosh operating system will need to upgrade their security to counter this threat, the Apple Macintosh operating system has suffered an initial wave of Malware attacks, but this is only the beginning and there are many more viruses and trojans that will be targeting the Apple Macintosh platform. This requires a more proactive approach from Apple to counter this threat. It is a shame that modern operating systems are so insecure, they need to follow the lead of other UNIX distributions such as the OpenBSD operating system that has security as the one concern overall.
There are many tools available to test for vulnerabilities in modern operating systems such as the nmap tool. This tool allows you to scan a host for open ports also it can test the host to find out what operating system it is running, this can be useful for further investigation if you wish to attack the server/desktop. This sample output below shows the result of a scan on ajezeera.com, this scan works better on some hosts than others. The nmap command was used in the Matrix reloaded movie when Trinity was shutting down the power station. The nmap output also shows the traceroute hops as well.
root@root:~# ping aljezeera.com PING aljezeera.com (220.127.116.11) 56(84) bytes of data. 64 bytes from aljezeera.com (18.104.22.168): icmp_seq=1 ttl=42 time=270 ms 64 bytes from aljezeera.com (22.214.171.124): icmp_seq=2 ttl=42 time=276 ms ^C --- aljezeera.com ping statistics --- 2 packets transmitted, 2 received, 0% packet loss, time 1000ms rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 270.398/273.603/276.808/3.205 ms root@root:~# nmap -A -T4 126.96.36.199 Starting Nmap 5.59BETA1 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2012-04-05 23:48 EDT RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 RTTVAR has grown to over 2.3 seconds, decreasing to 2.0 Nmap scan report for aljezeera.com (188.8.131.52) Host is up (0.31s latency). Not shown: 999 closed ports PORT STATE SERVICE VERSION 80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.2.17 ((Ubuntu)) |_http-title: aljezeera.com: The Best Search Links on the Net | http-robots.txt: 7 disallowed entries | /note/ /search.php /click.php /t.php /exitpage/ /popup/ |_/r.php |_http-methods: No Allow or Public header in OPTIONS response (status code 200) Device type: WAP|webcam|general purpose|printer|router Running (JUST GUESSING): Asus Linux 2.6.X (94%), Linux 2.6.X|2.4.X (94%), Linksys Linux 2.4.X (93%), Netgear embedded (92%), AXIS Linux 2.6.X (91%), Lexmark embedded (90%), Peplink embedded (89%), Gemtek embedded (89%) Aggressive OS guesses: Asus RT-N16 WAP (Linux 2.6) (94%), OpenWrt Kamikaze 7.09 (Linux 2.6.22) (94%), OpenWrt White Russian 0.9 (Linux 2.4.30) (93%), OpenWrt 0.9 - 7.09 (Linux 2.4.30 - 2.4.34) (93%), Netgear DG834G WAP (92%), AXIS 211A Network Camera (Linux 2.6) (91%), AXIS 211A Network Camera (Linux 2.6.20) (91%), Linux 2.6.18 (Debian 4.0, x86) (91%), Linux 2.6.22 (Ubuntu 7.04, x86, SMP) (91%), Linux 2.6.24 (91%) No exact OS matches for host (test conditions non-ideal). Network Distance: 20 hops TRACEROUTE (using port 443/tcp) HOP RTT ADDRESS 1 0.51 ms 192.168.1.1 2 170.21 ms 122-148-18-1.static.dsl.dodo.com.au (184.108.40.206) 3 170.13 ms 122-148-4-1.core.dodo.com.au (220.127.116.11) 4 79.29 ms 122-148-4-34.core.dodo.com.au (18.104.22.168) 5 71.18 ms tengigabitethernet8-4.ken44.sydney.telstra.net (22.214.171.124) 6 111.49 ms bundle-ether9.ken-core4.sydney.telstra.net (126.96.36.199) 7 111.43 ms bundle-ether1.pad-gw2.sydney.telstra.net (188.8.131.52) 8 131.57 ms tengige10-0-0.sydp-core02.sydney.reach.com (184.108.40.206) 9 251.32 ms i-0-1-0-0.paix-core01.bx.reach.com (220.127.116.11) 10 625.20 ms i-1-1.paix01.bi.reach.com (18.104.22.168) 11 370.08 ms 22.214.171.124 12 333.72 ms er2-xe-11-1-0.sanfrancisco.savvis.net (126.96.36.199) 13 370.19 ms 0.xe-8-3-0.br1.sjc7.alter.net (188.8.131.52) 14 311.85 ms 0.ae1.xl4.sjc7.alter.net (184.108.40.206) 15 370.34 ms 0.ge-5-0-0.xl4.mia4.alter.net (220.127.116.11) 16 370.05 ms tengige0-5-0-3.gw11.mia4.alter.net (18.104.22.168) 17 332.22 ms internet-gw.customer.alter.net (22.214.171.124) 18 ... 19 284.38 ms 126.96.36.199 20 302.34 ms aljezeera.com (188.8.131.52) OS and Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at http://nmap.org/submit/ . Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 77.27 seconds
The nmap command can return a lot of data about the host you are wanting to attack, but the Backtrack Linux distribution has countless other tools preinstalled that you may use as well for further probing.