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14 May 2009, 09:45

Former OLPC security chief joins Apple

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Ivan Krstić
Ivan Krstić, the former director of security architecture for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, has joined Apple. In 2007, at the age of 21, Krstić was cited as a Young Innovator by the MIT Technology Review. While working for the OLPC initiative, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to provide children across the world with low cost laptops for self-education, Krstić designed the Bitfrost security specification. He believes that the OLPC Bitfrost system is a fool-proof way to defeat malware attacks and that it "defeats the entire purpose of writing a virus".

Apple has a long history of ongoing marketing campaigns that suggest the Mac platform is much more secure than Windows systems, although this may have more to do with market share making the Mac platform a less attractive target for malware. Whatever the reason, Charlie Miller, a two time Pwn2Own winner, recently used an exploit to crack the Safari web browser on a MacBook in a matter of seconds and suggests that Macs are less secure than PCs.

Krstić is a firm believer in open source, but recently switched to Mac "after 12 years of almost exclusive use of free software". Now Krstić will be focusing on core operating system security and preventing hackers from tarnishing Apple's security reputation. According to a blog post, Krstić "couldn't be more thrilled" about working for the "local fruit vendor."

A 2007 Google TechTalk video, made while Krstić was working for the OLPC project, is available on YouTube and describes his thoughts and ideas about computer security.


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