iPhones becoming popular target for hackers, says expert

Hackers are taking increasing aim at iPhones and Macintosh computers as the hot-selling Apple devices gain popularity worldwide, security specialists, quoted by an AFP report, said.

Hackers have historically focused devious efforts on computers using Windows operating systems because the Microsoft software has more than 90% of the global market, promising evil-doers a wealth of targets, the AFP report said.

Macintosh computers have been gaining market share and catching the interest of hackers, according to Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) security vulnerability analyst Cameron Hotchkies.

'There are more eyes looking over Apple products for vulnerabilities,' Hotchkies told AFP. 'It has slowly been growing as a target people are more and more interested in.'

Hotchkies specializes in Apple software as part of a team devoted to scrutinizing programming holes and crafting 'patches' to prevent hackers from exploiting weaknesses.

'I've been seeing a lot of reverse engineering on the Apple platform,' the executive further said.

Part of the reason for increased popularity of Macintosh computers is that Apple has made the machines friendlier to running programs popular on Windows-based machines.

Hackers experienced with attacking Windows programs can apply some of their know-how to software modified to run on Macintosh computers.

Apple's Safari operating system is the basis for internet browsing using iPhones, which are basically handheld mini-computers with telephone, music, and video viewing capabilities.

It took about a month for someone to hack a first-generation iPhone after its release, but an iPhone 3G was cracked within hours of the start of sales in July.