Washington Post: Internet punishing for Windows users, Mac users surf with impunity

“The ongoing Internet-security freakout for anybody using Windows keeps getting worse. Every other week yet another part of the online world gets a warning label slapped on it — downloads, e-mail attachments, instant-messaging file transfers and now Web pages themselves,” Rob Pegoraro writes for The Washington Post.

“‘Browser hijacking’ is as bad as it gets: Like the Blaster worm, this form of trickery can take over your software silently and invisibly. Typically, users discover what has happened only after the actual hijacking: Their Internet Explorer home page and Web searches have been switched to strange sites, a flock of pop-up windows follows them around, their lists of favorite sites have become a catalogue of porn purveyors — and none of these changes can be undone without tedious debugging,” Pegoraro writes.

“These attacks differ from ‘spyware’ invasions, which can have similar effects, in that victims never took the conscious step of downloading a program and then running its installer. In some cases, the only mistake a user made was to click an ‘OK’ button to allow what they thought was a change in home-page settings or an addition of a Web toolbar — not knowing that the site would do much more than that,” Pegoraro writes. “This can be an understandable error when you look at the ways sites attempt to fool users; the sleaziest sites won’t include a ‘no thanks’ button in their pop-up alerts and will prevent users from closing these windows.

“I’ve yet to see any reports of Mac or Linux browser hijacks,” Pegoraro writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The difference between Mac OS X’s default web browser, Apple’s Safari, and Windows’ default web browser, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, illustrates why “building the browser into Windows” is not in the best interests of users. 90+ percent of the world uses a substandard POS browser thanks to Microsoft’s monopoly abuse. Their users are punished, as most don’t even realize there are alternatives – unfortunately for them, arguably the world’s best browser, Apple’s Safari, runs only on Mac OS X, but there are better browsers than IE for Windows available. Shouldn’t Microsoft have to pay in some meaningful way for this at some point? And what do you think Microsoft’s forcing Windows Media Player on the Windows Sufferers


  1. Impugnity! Yes, that’s what Apple lets me do. It empowers me rather than cripples me. The funniest part of the article described above is how long and tortured his explanations are. And how they still don’t protect you completely. Turn off Active X? Ha, try surfing for more than ten minutes and watch IE tell you 100 times it’s being prevented from doing something. It’s hilarious, and telling, that he said so little about Linux and Mac OS X. No mention of Safari, closed ports, security, viruses, etc. That’s his way of making a living, I guess.

    NEW MAC USER CHANT: class action suit against Microsoft, class action suit, class action suit, class action suit, NOW NOW NOW.

  2. really, spread the word as MDN says.

    Class action suit, class action suit, class action suit, spraypaint complaints on city streets, hold signs demanding action, class action suit. Email every writer you come across, every newspaper, every op-ed piece, everyone. You want to help Apple? Forget switch campaign, iTunes, all of that.

    Class action suit NOW NOW NOW.

  3. Yeah, michael, every time I tinker with security stuff on my wife’s PC I can’t believe how painfully obscure it is… and you know there’s always *something* that’s still vulnerable. Plus who can keep track of what they’ve done in case it ever needs to be undone/redone? What a nightmare.

  4. This one’s not for class action. I like it when Windows users suffer. Apple’s doing just fine serving those of us that appreciate them. Let the rest rot in their own, self-induced computer pergatory.

    Me? I tell them about how good it is, but I never tell them to change. Macintosh is the computer only for the discriminating users, us.

  5. “90+ percent of the world” gee they must be doing something right.

    maybe apple needs to expand it’s market and market OS X for x86 hardware. then maybe more of you apple zealots would start getting hacked too.

  6. If Microsoft is doing something right it has nothing to do with building safe, secure, and robust operating systems. Sure, they’re incredibly smart when it comes to marketing — to the point of competing unfairly.

    Linux is virtually virus free by design. Windows has always been a cobbled together and messy beast, beginning with Microsoft’s first attempts to copy the look and feel of the Macintosh operating system (Windows 3.1). Windows has improved over the years but it’s still full of holes, crash prone, and nearly impossible to troubleshoot.

    Not only is Linux incredibly stable and virtually virus free (I believe one ineffective virus has been written), it’s also free. It comes with a ton of free software and today’s Linux can be used by most any home user instead of Windows. Install OpenOffice.org (a free, Microsoft Office compatible office suite) and the Mozilla browser (also free) and you’ve got a great replacement for Windows.

  7. michael sez: “Ha, try surfing for more than ten minutes and watch IE tell you 100 times it’s being prevented from doing something.”

    Never happened to me or anybody else I know.

    Heck, when I had OS9 on my mac it seemed like it was crashing evey 15 minutes. Glad 10 came out, but have no problems with XP on our pcs.


    Bill Pollock sez “Not only is Linux incredibly stable and virtually virus free…you’ve got a great replacement for Windows.”

    And a replacement for Macintosh….

  8. It is looking like 2004 is going to be the “Year of insecurity” for Microsoft.

    Tell us again Billy how windows is more secure cuz it gets cracked, wormed and virused all the time.

    You can fool (almost) all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time…..

  9. Heck, when I had OS9 on my mac it seemed like it was crashing evey 15 minutes.

    OS9 is a really good OS, which I still prefer to OSX. Doesn’t sound like you knew what you were doing. The only problems I ever have are due to IE, which are pretty rare, something like 2-3 months apart.

  10. maybe apple needs to expand it’s market and market OS X for x86 hardware.

    Apple is still waiting for the maximum dissatisfaction among Windows users to choose the time to pounce. It’s building every day.

  11. neomonkey, OS 9 is crap.

    Type 11 errors?

    Extension conflicts?

    Unimplemented trap errors?

    Mac OS X not only beats 9 into the ground, it dances merrily on its grave. Pre-emptive multitasking, built-in networking services that 9 couldn’t touch with a pole, protected memory, a window compositing system that blows the doors off of everything else out there, and Unix under the hood (hello, Apache, PHP, and Perl, it’s nice to meet you).

    At the same time, it puts WinXP to shame. The compositing system (Windows won’t have that until 2005 or 2006, and we’ve had it since 2001), much tighter security, the virus advantage (0 to 1,135,427,136,857,876,248,740 viruses), the lack of a browser that’s too integrated to remove (which sucks when it’s full of holes), and an interface that isn’t cluttered with every bad MDI convention one can think of.

    We might pay a couple of hundred more for our hardware, but we get an OS that gives us our money’s worth and more.

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