Live: This is cyberwar

Spend a few minutes watching the action on Norse’s live map of suspected denial of service attacks, and you may find yourself cowering for safety behind the nearest firewall.

According to Norse, an Internet security firm based in St. Louis, MO, the malicious strikes lighting up their world map like a game of Missile Command represent a small fraction of the actual attacks — only those events picked up by their network of “dark sensors, honeypots, crawlers, and agents.”

Is there an Apple angle here? There could be.

Apple is trying to position itself as the only company that really cares about Internet security. Unlike Microsoft (MSFT) Windows in the bad old days, OS X is not a breeding ground for viruses and trojan horses. Unlike Google (GOOG), Apple does not sell user data to advertisers — which could explain why Android is said to be the target of 97% of mobile malware.

Is Apple any less vulnerable to the kind of attacks Norse is monitoring? I haven’t been able to find any good evidence one way or another.

For what it’s worth, a Google search for denial of service attacks on Windows gets more than three times as many hits as a comparable search for Macs.

On the other hand, a search for iPhone denial of service attacks gets more hits than one for Android.

I’d call that a draw.

LINK: Norse Live Threat Map

UPDATE: Reader Walter Milliken points out that these are probably break-in probes, not denial of service attacks. There is abundant evidence that Apple products are well-protected from this kind of attack. For a fresh example, see Daniel Eran Dilger’s piece Monday in AppleInsider: Surveillance leak shows spyware loves Android, but can’t infect Apple’s iPhones without jailbreak.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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