Spyware, adware plague Windows users online; Mac OS X users surf freely

“Spyware, adware and other code that lurks on hard drives has become so pervasive it’s bedeviling home users, driving corporate technology managers to distraction and has become the top complaint in customer service calls to computer makers,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET News.com. “But participants in a one-day workshop convened Monday by the Federal Trade Commission couldn’t decide what to do about it.”

McCullagh reports, “Spyware and adware problems became the largest single customer service complaint late last year, Dell attorney Maureen Cushman told the FTC workshop. It’s become ‘a huge technical support issue for us,’ Cushman said, resulting in ‘slow performance, inability to access the Internet, extra icons and pop-up ads. This damages our brand and, most importantly, impairs the customer experience.’ McAfee Security manager Bryson Gordon, whose company sells the McAfee AntiSpyware utility, says his company detected fewer than 2 million adware or spyware products in August 2003. By March 2004, the total number had zoomed to just more than 14 million. It’s become ‘a larger technical support problem than viruses,’ Gordon said.”

McCullagh reports, “Nearly all known spyware programs infect Microsoft Windows, not Apple’s OS X operating system or other Unix or Linux variants.”

Full article here.

Information on how you can smoothly transition from Windows to Apple’s Mac OS X here.

Related MacDailyNews article:
Washington Post: Internet punishing for Windows users, Mac users surf with impunity – February 28, 2004



    One pretend virus/proof of concept on OS X does not a security panic make.

    Virii remain a NON-ISSUE in the Mac universe.

    Read that last line again.

    Now calculate how much it’s going to cost to get Anti-VIrus software for the rest of your CTRL ALT DEL days..

    Now remind yourself that Macs are too expensive.

    And yes.. Apple users are snobs.. I feel like we’re playing hide and go seek.. I’m telling you where Jimmy is.. saying ‘warm.. warmer…’ and then you start walking the other way…windows users are the kid walking in the wrong direction when you keep saying ‘cold, colder, freezing’… because they ‘cant afford to not spend hundreds of dollars and painful time on their cheap solutions.’

    </slightly irritated rant>

  2. virus software…..free with motherboard……..adaware and spybot…….free

    You wish this stuff were a big pain in the ass Mike. It isn’t.

    Let the anecdotes begin.

  3. I spent considerable time during my spring break at home clearing out spyware on my familys computers. After I installed adaware I was able to keep their desktops from being overrun by popups when they started IE (P.O.S) I reiterated the need to use an alternate browser whenever possible. At least it gave me a chance to install iTunes on one of my brothers computers, he loves it. One step closer to bringing another to the Apple fields of Elysium. Apple really needs to hire someone good to make a commercial pushing the MACs strengths, maybe even showing people they can run windows on them, maybe MS will help pay for the commercial. Once you hook them and they get used to OSX they’ll wonder why they bought anything else before. Gotta love how OSX has a built in Spell checker no matter what program you’re using. Since I switched in February to a PB I finally got to know what it was like to not have to reboot for a whole month, and only then to complete an update. Thank you Apple for making my life better

  4. It’s the whole Microsoft concept that computer users are nothing more than a giant marketing study. What we click, what we listen too, everything we do online is to be recorded and analyzed.

    Microsoft made Napster client reports your music collection back to them. If the RIAA could, they sure would be making people prove the music on their computers was actually paid for. They already have knowledge through WMP etc.

    Microsoft knew what it was doing by leaving ports open in their software, they are no dummies. Microsoft caters to big business and government. The two big boys who want to know everything, one to sell us, the other to control us.

    So it’s no wonder that there is so much spyware, adware and other marketing crapola on PC’s, the whole idea was encouraged and allowed, by Microsoft.

    I wouldn’t be the least surprised if some of these adware/spyware was actually manufactured by government agencies, it’s a excellent source of intelligence.

    Microsoft continues to leave PC’s vulnerable right out of the box, 20 years they have been doing it. Yet like stupid dogs, PC users return to their own vomit and make believe it’s all going to be better the next time as they download their daily virus definitions and patches.

    Quote a friend: “I thank you for turning me on to computers the right way (with a eMac), I keep reading articles one after another about another virus or spyware or something wrong with PC’s. If I started on PC’s and got a problem I know I wouldn’t be able to solve it and be spending a lot of money having technicians fixing my computer. I would probably get turned off to computers and not enjoy them like I do now. Thank you oh so much”

    Apple has proven for over 20 years that they can make a OS that is almost entirely free of vulnerabilities. When one is discovered it’s quickly remedied, not left unchallenged for several years, requiring a person to buy third party software to patch the hole, like on Microsoft.

    That’s why smart folks get Mac’s.

    Just look at Microsoft’s rap sheet!!!! over 81,000 viruses because of M$. All that money and not one solid piece of software in the whole list.

    To be fair look at Apples check each one, as Microsoft software is a cause for quite a few of the vulnerabilities. ActiveX, IE and macro viruses.

  5. master cylinder–that was absolutely nothing.. even if you wanted to you could not start a chain reaction with macs..because mac OS X will not allow programs to install themselves or initiate themselves..

    that was basically sth to warn Apple that programs disguised as mp3’s could be downloaded on p2p…

    thought their types were Application..and the ‘trojan’ itself did nothing..it was proof of concept..demonstrating a possible way to deploy.

    again.. the mac os X will NOT LET the programs do their own thing.. so your friends will not give you the virus w/o them initiating every aspect of it..in which case..ahm..they’re not your friends..

    writng a mac virus would be a complete waste of time..

  6. So is it correct to assume that OSX is immune from spyware?

    The article says “Nearly all known spyware programs infect Microsoft Windows, not Apple’s OS X”

  7. Joe
    virus software…..free with motherboard……..adaware and spybot…….free

    You wish this stuff were a big pain in the ass Mike. It isn’t.

    oh yes it is as anyone who has used Windows will know those freeware programs they don’t work on all malware
    why should you *Have* to use crap like that to make surfing safer.
    Note I said safer not safe
    those anti spybot programs don’t work with ALL malware

  8. here is a list of “known” malware

    In all honesty I was surfing with my father in laws PC last week (Easter) and was amazed at how bad surfing is on a PC.
    We visited lyrics.com to find words to a song, and new windows just popped up everywhere, before you could blink we had 7-8 windows on the taskbar.
    His anti malware program kept popping up informing us of “unsigned Active X detected” what the hell is that??
    If surfing was like that on my Mac I’d give up, having to be protected by programs that are so intrusive in themselves.
    He’s coming to try out my mac next week end!!

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