Mac supports Hacks?

February 9, 2008




Chapter 5 in Wikinomics covered a number of inter-related topics, which included a company’s control over its products and the customer hacking of their products. Some companies, such as Sony, chose to stop customer hacks on its PSP product using lock-up technology embedded in its upgrade firmware. Well, the title of this post may be deceiving, because Apple doesn’t out rightly support customers hacking their products (ie Podzilla). However, the company doesn’t completely disapprove hacking because Apple has yet to take action to stop the progress of CanSecWest’s hacking contest to be held at their security research conference in March. And why would they? The contestants find the faults in their computer systems!


Last year, CanSecWest held a Macintosh computer hacking contest, in which the first contestant to hack the computer won the computer and $10,000. The cash prize was given in exchange for details regarding the computer’s bug which enabled the hacker to gain access and thus give the company a chance to fix it.

Gartner disapprove of the method used for finding security bugs in computer systems, saying it reveals computer system’s private information. However, the benefits of having a contest to find the bugs and then enable Mac to correct them, is more valuable to the security companies.

This year, CanSecWest and TippingPoint hopes to have computers running Linux, Vista, and OS X to see which one is the most secure during the contest. Or which one is the most vulnerable.

The contest is definitely an innovative idea for software companies. It’s actually a method of embracing consumer power, by letting consumers discover the bugs and allow the company to reap the benefits of co-innovation. Don’t get me wrong, there is something in it for consumers too! Not only does the contest winner get $10,000 cash and a computer, but other consumers and users of the computers get to benefit from a further secured product.



3 Responses to “Mac supports Hacks?”

  1. Zachary Says:

    Good Post!
    But this doesnt mean Apple/Mac is supporting hacking, they are just trying to get help from the averageish people instead of huge companies like Symantec(tm).

    10,000 dollars may seem like alot but bigger companies can ask for more making Mac take this trail.

  2. wattsy Says:

    I think that contests like those are really valuable for a company to have. If problems are exposed earlier than later, than that is a positive for security. Contests that are held like these are also useful because there are some really smart people out there that can expose the faults in these systems very quickly. Offering prizes will be a positive step in getting these problems addressed. Although Gartner disapproves this method, I still think it is important to have. It does reveal companies private information. But the consumers are the people who are buying this product, and how would Apple feel if the consumers information were exposed because of faults in their system? I don’t think Apple would be looked at as greatly – if there were a lot of faults in their system.

  3. […] and just a side note, remember how I wrote that post about the hacking contest for laptops (sure you do!) well it turns out the Macbook Air was the […]

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