Yesterday Apple made available the developer preview of OS X Lion on the Mac App Store. Beneath the cries of Apple’s intention to kill the optical drive (this is the first developer preview of OS X you can’t get on DVD) was news security experts would be getting a sneak peak at Lion.
Apple informed registered developers yesterday that they could download a preview version of OS 10.7 Lion through the Mac App Store. This is the first time Apple was distributing a developer preview of its major operating system via download only. Developers will not be able to order a DVD of OS X Lion. While I hoped Apple would hurry up and kill the Optical Drive I think interpreting the lack of ordering Beta Software via DVD as the precursor to physical media’s demise is silly.
While developers are being offered a preview of OS X Lion, Apple is showing security researchers and those who have criticized the Mac’s security the new improvements in Lion. CNETreceived a tip from a source that Apple has provided notable security researchers such as Dino Dai Zovi and Charlie Miller with a preview version of Lion showing improved security features.
“I wanted to let you know that I’ve requested that you be invited to the prerelease seed of Mac OS X Lion, and you should receive an invitation soon,” said a letter sent by Apple to an unknown number of security researchers. “As you have reported Mac OS X security issues in the past, I thought that you might be interested in taking a look at this. It contains several improvements in the area of security countermeasures.”
Miller speculated about the possible security enhancements coming in Lion and believes ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) support will be coming. ASLR randomly changes the location of vital data making it harder for hackers to target low level code. Beta versions of iOS 4.3 incorporate ASLR making it much more difficult for hackers to create a jailbreak.