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Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments? - Mac Networking

We are hearing over and over again that there are email worms spreading by including an executable Windows attachment to a mail and having unsuspecting users execute it on their MS Windows system. While of course this should not bother Mac users more than any other spam they potentially receive it makes me wonder to what extend Apple Mail would be endangered by a simiar attack. If one receives an email that has an attachment containing executable Mac code (AppleScript, binary, whatever) would it directly execute if the user unsuspectingly or accidentally opened that attachment from within Apple Mail? If ...

  1. #1

    Default Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    We are hearing over and over again that there are email worms spreading
    by including an executable Windows attachment to a mail and having
    unsuspecting users execute it on their MS Windows system.
    While of course this should not bother Mac users more than any other
    spam they potentially receive it makes me wonder to what extend Apple
    Mail would be endangered by a simiar attack. If one receives an email
    that has an attachment containing executable Mac code (AppleScript,
    binary, whatever) would it directly execute if the user unsuspectingly
    or accidentally opened that attachment from within Apple Mail?
    If so, are there any settings that can prevent that, restricting the
    types of attachments that can be directly opened (to say known image,
    audio, text formats etc.)?
    What about other email apps such as Eudora?

    --
    Georg Schwarz http://home.pages.de/~schwarz/
    de +49 177 8811442
    Georg Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    de (Georg Schwarz) writes:
     

    Well, first of course is that nobody writes programs for the Mac, right?
    :-> I hear that all the time in other newsgroups when someone asks about
    buying a Mac for a use related to the newsgroup. So since nobody is writing
    for the Mac, no problem, with the sole execption of Microsoft macros.
     

    I'm not sure how effective it is, but in preferences -> viewing, I have not
    checked the box that says display images and embedded objects in HTML
    messages. My understanding is that this shows me only the text of an HTML
    message. Better, I almost always read email ssh'ed into a Linux server
    using mutt. Since it's completely text, I get to see whatever nastiness the
    Windows users have been hijacked to send out to other Windows users with no
    effect on my Mac.

    I think your biggest problem is getting email with Microsoft macros in Word
    or Excel doents that you open. I don't use MS products (with the
    exception of a copy of MSIE that I keep for lunkheads that do web pages
    that are internet explorer only), so I don't even worry about MS macros.


    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
    Phil Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    Phil Stripling <zzn.com> wrote:
     

    I know, but I wouldn't want to rely on it.
     
    >
    > I'm not sure how effective it is, but in preferences -> viewing, I have not
    > checked the box that says display images and embedded objects in HTML
    > messages. My understanding is that this shows me only the text of an HTML[/ref]

    this is, to some extend (only), effective with respect to some other
    type of email-related type of attack, but it should not matter for the
    question of malicious executables in attachments.
     

    true (and probably pretty safe for you), but this does not touch upon my
    question.

    --
    Georg Schwarz http://home.pages.de/~schwarz/
    de +49 177 8811442
    Georg Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    In article <net.eu.org>, Georg Schwarz
    <de> wrote:
     

    Yes, Eudora has such a restriction. Attachments that want to be
    executables will produce a warning instead.
    Philo Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    I guess this question might be applied to Applescript. Can you
    attach and applescript to an email and have it automatically
    execute when opened?

    - Jeff
    Jeff Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    In article <net>,
    Jeff Wiseman <net> wrote:
     

    It would not be trivial. First, the script would have to be compiled as
    an application. Secondly, it would have to be encoded (binhex, etc.).
    Third, the application would have to decode it automatically upon
    receipt and store the resulting file on the disk. Fourth, you would
    have to double-click on the enclsosure in the message.

    --
    Never play strip tarot.
    Michelle Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    Jeff Wiseman <net> writes:
     

    If you mean the applescript execute when the email is opened, I have no
    idea. I'm not sure that's what happens with most Microsoft viruses and
    such. Often it's "Here's that hot photo of Paris Hilton I told you about,"
    and the attachment is Paris.jpg.vbs, but most windows users have turned off
    extensions, so they see Paris.jpg. Double-clicking on the script executes
    it.

    I got an email yesterday earnestly informing me that the sender had scanned
    my ports and found a trojan called something.exe [I've forgotten the name,
    but it looked like the usual strange names] on my system; he urged me
    to open the attached .exe file to remove it before my computer was taken
    over by the trojan. Wasn't that nice of him? Apparently windows users are
    taken in by that enough to make it worthwhile.

    But I digress.

    You'd want to have the AppleScript compiled as a binary, then attached to
    the email with some excuse for the person to double-click the file. In the
    old Classic OS days, you'd still be pretty safe unless you had CGI enabled
    on your computer which you were using as a Web host or such. With OS X, I'm
    not sure what you'd do with your payload. _Generally_, Macs are set up
    rather securely, so your payload won't be able to infect the millions of
    computers we're used to seeing in the papers when it's a Microsoft virus.

    If no one posts a pointer to some definitive resource, I'd suggest posting
    your query in the comp.sys.mac.system newsgroup with its own subject line
    and seeing what kind of responsese you get there. It's a good question, and
    I'd like a good answer.

    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
    Phil Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Apple Mail endangered by malicious attachments?

    In article <tdl.com>,
    Phil Stripling <zzn.com> wrote:
     


    Scanning your ports eh? Sounds like a naughty euphemism. ;)
    Madwen Guest

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