Millions of Windows PC’s hijacked by hackers, turned into zombies; Macintosh unaffected

“Since early 2003, wave after wave of infectious programs have begun to saturate the Internet, causing the number of [Windows] PCs hijacked by hackers and turned into so-called zombies to soar into the millions – mostly in homes,… at small businesses and on college campuses. And, much like zombies of voodoo legend, they mindlessly do the bidding of their masters and help commit crimes online,” Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz report for USA Today.

“Personal computers have never been more powerful – and dangerous. Just as millions of Americans are buying new PCs and signing up for ultrafast Internet connections, cybercrooks are stepping up schemes to take control of their machines – and most consumers don’t have a clue,” Acohido and Swartz report. “‘We thought things were bad in 2003, but we’ve seen a sharp uptick in 2004. I’m worried things will get much worse,’ says Ed Skoudis, co-founder of consulting firm Intelguardians.”

“The scariest type of attack is one most consumers aren’t aware of. Scores of sophisticated programs, called worms and bots, continually scour the Internet for Windows PCs with security holes. There are hundreds of Windows vulnerabilities, and new ones turn up regularly. Microsoft issues software patches, or fixes, each month for the most troublesome. But most home users, and many businesses, don’t keep up to date on patches,” Acohido and Swartz report.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A Windows PC can be such a royal waste of time and effort! As we’re fond of saying, if you’re finally tired of downloading and installing patches to patch patches that patched patches issued to fix patches that broke while patching a patch that didn’t patch the first patch, but broke the last patch you patched, you might want to try a Mac instead. More information about adding a Mac OS X machine to your computing arsenal here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Is Mac OS X really inherently more secure than Windows? – August 26, 2003
BusinessWeek’s Haddad gets it wrong; thinks low market share spares Macs from viruses – August 28, 2003
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth – August 28, 2003
Fortune columnist: ‘get a Mac’ to thwart viruses; right answer for the wrong reasons – September 02, 2003
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Columnist tries the ‘security through obscurity’ myth to defend Windows vs. Macs on virus front – October 1, 2003
Gates: Windows ‘by far the most secure’ system; tries to use ‘Mac OS X secure through obscurity’ myth – January 27, 2004
Mac OS X has no viruses; what’s wrong with Windows? – February 11, 2004
Spyware, adware plague Windows users online; Mac OS X users surf freely – April 19, 2004
Gartner: Worms jack up the total cost of Microsoft Windows – May 07, 2004
Windows ‘Scob’ virus designed to steal financial data, passwords; Macintosh unaffected – June 26, 2004
Tired of patching patches to patch Windows patches? Writer suggests getting a Mac – August 03, 2004


  1. People don’t understand exactly what’s happening to their computer experience with Microsoft. This company is bad for the economy. They’re convicted felons, right? What kind of behavior should we expect from them? Their products don’t work well, cause more grief for more people, and the company is totally arrogant about it. Totally. Just note the bad mouth from Gates about Jobs and Apple.

    Better yet, check this article from SFGate. Microsoft has simply stolen the sound of hundreds of local radio stations around the country without permission. Big stink. Does Microsoft care? Nope.

  2. Hmmmm. Has anyone besides me figured out that MDN has lots more ads recently? Like TV and Radio, Internet sites need advertising to pay the bills, but this seems excessive.

    Let’s do some basic math to see how much money MDN is extracting from advertisers.

    I figure MDN gets a minimum of 10,000 visitors daily, on average, Monday through Sunday (less on weekends, but this is an average).

    Each visitor looks at at least two and possibly three pages per visit. Home page, plus the linked pages.

    Let’s go with the low number of two. With 10,000 visitors daily, and 2 pages each, that’s 20,000 page views daily at a minimum. I count an average of about 10-14 ads on each page. Going with the low number, that’s 20,000 pages viewed with 10 ads each, or 200,000 ad impressions. Per day.

    That’s 6,000,000 ad impressions per month.

    Ad revenue on web sites such as this runs $1.00 to $10.00 per thousand ad impressions.

    At $1.00 per thousand, that’s $6,000 a month revenue.
    At $2.00 per thousand, that’s $12,000 a month revenue.
    At $3.00 per thousand, that’s $18,000 a month revenue.

    Way to go MDN.

  3. And I bet tomorrow’s article “Tech industry fights back” will be a pile of BS from MS about how well they are handling the problem (i.e., SP2). I wrote to USA Today and urged them to include in tomorrow’s article the ONE sure way to avoid the dangers they wrote about today. “Use a Mac.” But I doubt they will even mention any alternative platforms as a cure.

  4. Stargate,

    I used to run a website of a similar type as MDN. MDN isn’t making 1/6th of your lowest estimate, I would guess. Note that most of the ads here are commission, not based upon impressions (CPM, cost per thousand) – people have to buy something, MDN gets a small cut – there is not a lot of money there. I believe the top banners, the banners below the articles, and maybe the MacDock ad on the side are paid. Probably for less than $1 CPM. The MacDock ad is probably a trade for a break in hosting costs.

    The increase of ads here lately means one thing to people who’ve done it before – MDN is struggling to pay for hosting and bandwidth and they’re trying to get every last penny out of the site to keep it going. Good luck, MDN – most of these sites fail – I hope MDN makes it!

  5. I don’t begrudge MDN for the ads. Haven’t we all learned to tune them out?

    The only kind of ads I dislike are:
    a) Blinking ads that hurt my eyes
    b) Ads that mess up content
    c) Political ads

    Hope MDN can keep going with the added revenue.

  6. Not going to say – they’re still trying to do something with it. It ain’t nearly as easy or as profitable as you might think. I’m way surprised MDN is still going, to tell you the truth. Tough business – especially being focused just on Mac and Apple news. The site I was with was more general tech news.

    I do try to buy things from sites I like and visit often when I need the things they advertise because I know how much it means to the sites.

  7. FYI:
    MacDailyNews Advertising Information
    Quick Facts:
    � MacDailyNews serves an average of 30,000-35,000 pages per day and is rapidly growing
    � Visitors from 135+ countries
    � Live banner statistics reporting for 728×90 leaderboard, 468×60 full banners, 125×125 square button, 120×240 vertical banner, 120×600, 160×600 skyscraper side ads, and 180×150 rectangle ads – advertisers are given a username & password to check stats at any time
    � Page views average over 1,000,000 per month

    Note, that the rate card prices are negotiable. This is how most all sites operate. I hope MDN is getting $1CPM – we never could get much higher than that from our advertisers.

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