“Research firm Gartner has issued a warning to companies using Mac OS to guard against malicious code attacks and spyware,” Munir Kotadia reports for ZDNet Australia. “Just a week after Symantec caused uproar in the Mac community by warning the OS X operating system was quickly becoming a target for hackers and viruses, Gartner has warned businesses reliant on the Mac to guard against ‘spyware infestations.'”

“Martin Reynolds, vice president of Gartner’s Dataquest organisation, said last week although the overall Mac userbase is relatively small, just one vulnerability exploit could cause trouble,” Kotadia reports. “‘The Macintosh installed base is relatively small, with only about three percent of systems in use today running the Mac OS… The Mac OS is also a harder target… However, it only takes one exploited weakness to cause trouble,’ said Reynolds in a research note.”

MacDailyNews Note: The Macintosh installed base is closer to 10 percent than 3 percent. Gartner’s Reynolds looks to be confusing current quarterly market share with installed base. Many more people use Macs than most people would think, but you need to look at installed base, not quarterly market share to see just how many Macs are really out there. See “More people use Apple Macs than you think; 8-12 percent of homes use Macs.” A quick trip to BoingBoing.net’s publicly-available stats page for a real world example, backs the installed base figures up by revealing an interesting figure: 14.9 % of their visitors so far this month are using Macs.

Kotadia continues, “‘Although it is almost nonexistent on the Mac platform today, problem spyware could emerge. Spyware that exploits vulnerabilities can establish itself more deeply in the system, becoming both harder to detect and harder to remove. Don’t assume that your Macintosh systems are immune from viruses and other malicious-code attacks,’ said Reynolds.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Spyware is “almost nonexistent” or just plain nonexistent on the Mac OS X platform? We haven’t seen any. This is not to say that there couldn’t be spyware in the future for Mac OS X, but a bit of realism would be welcome. Or how about some relativity, at least? Even if there were 100 cases of Mac OS X spyware, comparing that to the Windows spyware mess would be like comparing a grain of sand to Rob Glaser. This warning to Mac-based businesses to “guard against ‘spyware infestations'” is basically a load of malarky. Gartner’s warning basically is saying that “Mac OS X users have no problems, but don’t think that the threat doesn’t exist. Nobody bought Symantec’s load of —- last week, so we’re going to have to try to scare everyone about the potential for, ummm, let’s see… ‘Mac OS X spyware infestations,’ yeah, yeah, that sounds good… before people go get crazy ideas like dumping their porous, insecure Windows boxes for Macs.” More FUD. And the more FUD you see, the more Apple’s Mac platform is denting the Wintel-centric universe.

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