CNET: Despite ‘virtually virus-free record,’ Apple needs better communication skills

“When it comes to security, Apple Computer’s report card reads like that of a gifted child: high marks for achievement, but needs to communicate better with others. In general, the Mac operating system has seen far fewer bugs than its Windows counterpart. But some say a recent vulnerability demonstrates that the notoriously tight-lipped company must communicate more openly on security issues and move more quickly when it comes to plugging holes,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News.

CNET’s sidebar “bottom line” states: “Apple has a strong security record, evidenced by its virtually virus-free record, but some say the company needs to be better about communicating with customers and security researchers.”

“‘I think there’s room for improvement with their response speed on problems with their own code,’ said Chris Adams, a Mac user and system administrator for San Diego’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies, a research center that’s played a part in training five Nobel Prize-winning scientists. ‘The general pattern is complete silence for months and then a terse announcement when the update is released.’ Adams said Apple has done a pretty good job of updating the operating system to fill holes found in various Unix components. But what is needed, Adams and others contend, is more dialogue about what the company is doing with regard to security,” Fried reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Virtually virus free?” If by “virtually,” CNET means “totally,” then we’re okay with it. There is no “almost” here. The number of Mac OS X viruses is zero. Maybe they’re still holding tightly to their hearts those handful of years-ago Mac OS Classic viruses?

21 Comments

  1. i usually support MDN and their supplemental commentaries and rants, but this time you need to shut the hell up.

    adams is right. the recent security issue was a potential nightware waiting to happen. its like a security company with a major system fault leaving their clients’ homes and businesses vulnerable and open to attacks to thieves. while never mentioning this vulnerability, they are at the same time crossing their fingers hoping nothing bad will happen until they patch up a fix.

    so MDN instead of acting like a little brat, maybe you should wake up and smell the applejuice for a change

  2. Most of this so called viruses appearing on Mac OS X are user’s fault, for example downloading illegal files from Limewire. I always double check for file size and some other basic forms of protection when downloading illegal stuff from Limewire… For example what kind of nitwit thinks that a full demo of office 2004 is a little over 100 K. It’s plain stupid! Of course, that person deserves it, because there’s OOo, for me it’s just like MS Office but without the bloat, and of course free. I don’t have to worry for SBA rading my office, because I support OSS, of course, there are some things not available on OSS, but that’s another topic for discussion

  3. RE: Jim

    “while never mentioning this vulnerability, they are at the same time crossing their fingers hoping nothing bad will happen until they patch up a fix. “

    As long as they were working on a patch then I think this is the right thing to do. If they announce that there is a security hole, but no fix yet, then that tips off hackers on how to exploit the hole and you have no way to defend against that yet.

    Now if they wait for someone else to also discover the hole before trying to patch it, that would be pretty f’d up.

  4. We all need a firewall and virus software though, cause I still manage to forward windows virus’ somehow. I love the Mail.app but it would be nice if Apple added basic protection so that it would delete messages that have well known problems before they get to our inbox.

  5. I will NOT buy virus software until I see a need to (i.e. Mac viruses start popping up). Let me rephrase that- not until, but IF I ever need to. If I pass on a virus on to other Windows users hidden in an email message, so be it. Doesn’t bother me, doesn’t affect me. Why should I spend money to clean up Winblows problems? Sorry, ain’t gonna happen!

  6. I agree with Ace. There is a huge difference between a report about a potential security problem that has had NO actual reports of it causing a single incident, and reports of thousands of personal computers and servers going down due to a rapidly, self-replicating, virus.

    I live in a very small, rural, town. About 99% of the population don’t lock their doors (ever) and many leave the keys in the car’s ignition so they don’t misplace the keys. Yes, there is a vulnerability to the people’s security but by design, with everyone knowing everyone else, it is a very safe place. It would be terrible to have someone publish in a nearby city paper an article about the town and their security habits. Even if there were to be a beak-in or a stolen car, the whole town is not about to go crazy and start buying locks and fences. Okay, there is a vulnerability in the Mac OS. Where’s the damage? What’s the point in advertising it to the world. Let Apple know, and then move on. When damage actually does occur, and it is spreading, THEN tell the world.

    It seems that we are becoming accustomed to the major media (namely television news) hype as they take a minor issue and make it big news. This is exactly what has happened here. Not unlike the stories of the boogie monster in the closet. Just think about it… What damage has it caused? NONE! How many people has it affected? Very few if any! Let’s not get wrapped up in the hype and actually expend a tiny amount of brain power and assess the risk for ourselves.

    But, I must conclude that the same brainless wonders that would download software from an unknown source would probably be just as clueless and be sucked into the baseless hype.

  7. Jim, you smoking crack? Microsoft should be more open about their security vulnerabilities. It’s only recently they admitted this.

    Why don’t you shut the hell up. MDN has made a good point. CNET has been shown to not really know what it’s talkin gabout.

  8. To me this is the Wolf whining that it missed Red Riding Hood. The only way anyone on a Mac could be affected by most of these security issues is if they are downloading software from speculative sites or some of these file sharing services.

    I have not seen any reports of any significant outbreak. Unlike Windows, the Mac does not suffer any reportable downtime from virus, exploit or other issues that routinely affect the Windows world.

    CNet needs to get more perspective and stop trying to create non-existant parity between the Mac and Windows as far as security goes….

  9. I think it’s cnet that needs better communicatin skills… like more objective journalism instead of creating FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) about Mac OS X’s security. “Virtually virus free,” my ass. If jim (1st post) wants to talk about “potential nightmare waiting to happen,” it’s already happened: windoze security.

  10. Yawn. CNET just has an axe to grind as always. They’re just desperate as usual to devert as much attention away as possible from the security disaster that is Microsoft Windows….

  11. Jim, none of the security issues that I have seen in MacOS X can be accurately classified as “viruses” or “worms.” They do not self-replicate and distribute themselves. They are single-shot trojans masquerading as benign files or links. MDN is absolutely correct in this case and the media’s representation of the “facts” is FUD.

    I do not discount the security risks. But MacOS X is clearly superior to Windows in terms of security. I would also argue that Apple’s response to OS X security issues has generally been quite good.

  12. wake up you morons. its an issue whether you like it or not. i’m not comparing this with windows we already know windows is a POS swiss cheese crap OS.

    SO AGAIN I’LL SAY IT AGAIN…..DONT COMPARE THIS WITH WINDOWS because that’s not my point.

    the point is, regardless of what type of computer user we are dealing with, IT IS AN ISSUE.

  13. yo Jimbo
    MDN’s take on this article was specifically about viruses. And it is indeed, completely true. A computer virus is malicsious code that not only affects your computer but as real viruses do, replicates and spreads to others automatically. And they represent a real security issue that OSX does not have.

    This is not to diminish the other security hole which has surfaced as of late. But I believe that the CNET note of ‘virtually virus free’ is misleading because it also implies ‘some’ virues exsisting.

    and please… stop callin people morons if you want people to listen to your viewpoint

  14. so far OS X has security issues but has no virus nor known exploitable hole that could lead to a virus.

    Jim, looks like you are mixing the two things: it is an issue but it is no virus. Hence CNET with the “virtually virus-free” is mixing – as you do – the two things.

    A virus is a virus is a virus. OS X has zero so far and no virus-exploitable security flaws.

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