Windows spyware mess is out of control, get a Mac and surf with impunity

“I’m chatting with the CEO of a spyware company and he tells me that he knows for a fact that Dell support lines have been getting 70,000 calls a week regarding machine performance and anomalies. Dell has been referring the callers to Web sites discussing spyware. It’s spyware causing the problems. I’m thinking to myself that if Dell is getting 70,000 calls, then Microsoft must be getting 700,000 calls, since the smart money would always assume that it’s a software problem. Whatever the call volume, this situation with spyware is now officially out of control,” John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine.

“The notable thing about spyware is that because it isn’t virulent like a virus and seldom spreads from your machine to another, it manages to stay out of the spotlight. The national media pay little attention to the problem, and many mainstream media tech writers are Mac users, so they don’t get it. Who knows what will happen when the Mac community gets hit? They feel immune, and are for now. But when they get hit, there will be few resources to help them, since the antispyware community is busy with all the PC-related problems,” Dvorak writes.

“Since spyware has not spread quickly and tends to be installed via browsers one computer at a time, we are seeing slow – but relentless – growth. We can expect it to continue. I’m looking at all the spyware packages and I’ll have a few to recommend in the months ahead. For now you’ll probably need multiple systems to get rid of this stuff. This will be the number-one topic in the year 2005, guaranteed,” Dvorak writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What John forgets to mention in his zeal to make sure nobody gets the bright idea to dump Windows for a safe, secure, powerful, and fun Mac OS X machine, is that when a program tries to install itself in Mac OS X, a dialog box interrupts your work and asks you permission for that installation, and in fact, requires your account password. Windows XP goes ahead and installs it, potentially without your awareness. John still seems to think that Windows and Mac OS X are the same thing with different names; that it’s just a matter of time before Macs get hit just like Windows. But, in reality, Mac OS X simply has safeguards built in that Windows does not have and that’s a large part of the reason that Mac users surf the Web with impunity while Windows boxes become sluggish with malware. It’s so bad that many Windows machines’ hard drives have to be periodically wiped clean, just so people can use their computers and start infecting their machines again from scratch. Don’t listen to John Dvorak, just read a few of the related articles below for the real story.

For our Windows-only friends, more information about smoothly adding a safe, secure, powerful, and fun Mac OS X machine to your computing arsenal can be found here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
New Microsoft Internet Explorer exploit spoofs Web sites on fully patched Windows XP systems – December 17, 2004
Microsoft may charge extra for Windows spyware protection software – December 16, 2004
Detroit Free Press: Windows malware problem getting worse, it’s time to get a Mac instead – December 16, 2004
Sick of spyware, adware headaches? Get a Mac and surf the Internet freely – December 13, 2004
Mossberg: Windows PCs plagued with problems, Apple’s Mac is ‘rock solid, elegant and affordable’ – December 09, 2004
Security expert: Don’t use Microsoft Windows, Office, Outlook, Internet Explorer – December 09, 2004
Security test: Windows XP system easily compromised while Apple’s Mac OS X stands safe and secure – November 30, 2004
Sick of spyware, adware infecting your PC? Don’t fret, just get a Mac – November 01, 2004
Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004
Spyware plagues Windows users while Mac users surf Net with impunity – November 01, 2004
Ballmer blames Windows users for not upgrading systems as Microsoft’s biggest security problem – October 22, 2004
Windows users line up to pay for spyware removal; Mac users surf Web with impunity – October 18, 2004
Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004
Windows users’ security woes spark interest in Apple’s secure Mac OS X – October 06, 2004
Windows desktop monopoly threatened by secure, safe Apple Mac OS X – October 04, 2004
Even Bill Gates can’t avoid Windows malware; Mac users surf the Web freely – October 03, 2004
Cyber-security adviser uses Apple Macintosh to avoid Windows’ security woes – September 27, 2004
Information Security Investigator says switch from Windows to Mac OS X for security – September 24, 2004
Mossberg: Apple iMac G5 ‘powerful, affordable, virus-free with better, more modern OS than Windows XP’ – September 23, 2004
USA Today: people are switching from Windows to Mac because of security issues – September 21, 2004
Windows besieged by hackers; number of Windows viruses soars by more than 400% – September 20, 2004
USA Today columinst angry about Windows viruses, adware, spyware – September 15, 2004
University of Chicago recommends all students patch Windows at least once a day – September 14, 2004
Windows XP worm speaks to users as it deletes their files; Macintosh unaffected – September 13, 2004
Security is top priority in Apple’s Mac OS X – September 12, 2004
Millions of Windows PC’s hijacked by hackers, turned into zombies; Macintosh unaffected – September 08, 2004
Mossberg: Dump your Windows machine and get an Apple Macintosh to free yourself of spyware – August 25, 2004
Tired of patching patches to patch Windows patches? Writer suggests getting a Mac – August 03, 2004
Windows ‘Scob’ virus designed to steal financial data, passwords; Macintosh unaffected – June 26, 2004
Gartner: Worms jack up the total cost of Microsoft Windows – May 07, 2004
Spyware, adware plague Windows users online; Mac OS X users surf freely – April 19, 2004
SmartMoney: Long-suffering Windows users can only dare to dream of Mac’s ease-of-use – February 12, 2004
Mac OS X has no viruses; what’s wrong with Windows? – February 11, 2004
Gates: Windows ‘by far the most secure’ system; tries to use ‘Mac OS X secure through obscurity’ myth – January 27, 2004
Columnist tries the ‘security through obscurity’ myth to defend Windows vs. Macs on virus front – October 1, 2003
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg on making the switch from Windows to Mac – September 18, 2003
Fortune columnist: ‘get a Mac’ to thwart viruses; right answer for the wrong reasons – September 02, 2003
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth – August 28, 2003
Is Mac OS X really inherently more secure than Windows? – August 26, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times columnist: Windows ‘many holes in its security’ but ‘none of my Macs have ever been affected – August 26, 2003
Sick of worms and viruses? ‘Move to Mac OS X’ suggests Chicago Tribune columnist – August 25, 2003
Virus and worm problems not just due to market share; Windows inherently insecure vs. Mac OS X – August 24, 2003


  1. Huh?

    “John still seems to think that Windows and Mac OS X are the same thing with different names; that it’s just a matter of time before Macs get hit just like Windows.”

    John didn’t mention the Mac at all. It was an article for PC users about spyware. John also didn’t mention any other OS for that matter as an alternative. I don’t hink it was some conspiracy on his part, just information about spyware on PCs. There was nothing in this article to link John’s supposed belief that Windows and OS X (or Linux, or Solaris) are the same with different names.

    He certainly didn’t wax euphoric about Window’s security, that’s for sure.

    So folks have to run Windows (it’s a shame, but true), so understanding the threat is useful. I do, which is why me and my family have Macintoshes running OS X.

    Simply pointing out the travails of Windows users and the obstacles they are and will be facing is enough of a contrast to support OS X. Junping all over his face does very little in that cause. Maybe that’s why he left to report about Windows?….

  2. The fact that this guy writes about computer tech and then has the surname of a keyboard layout strikes a chord of dis with me.

    It is just more proof that he cannot be for real.

    <\b> magic word “home”

    I don’t lnow why I wrote that, I guess i am just a lemming

  3. On my wife’s Dell laptop (don’t think I don’t love her, she got it from her workplace, a nonprofit) we have Spybot, Ad-aware and Spyware Blaster running. Those programs and her virus protection seem to keep it clear from any malware, but it’s a constant drag to keep up with all of the updates. Of course, since none of the other computers there have malware protection, hers is the only usable machine in the whole place.

    Life would be much simpler if her workplace had Macs instead…

    (this post brought to you by the magic word ‘common’)

  4. I have noticed that most PC guys over the age of 50 will never get it. It won’t be long before these fella’s employers realize their ancient take on technology, and start looking for someone who is more in touch with modern technology. All these old fellas remind me of the local PC repair guy. Certainly not a social call. There’s a local PC guy that I know who insists that Mac’s get spyware infested like Windows. Of course he thinks that, because there’s not a single Mac in his shop, so how would he know? If I were a PC repair guy, I’d be happy that I have PC’s to fix. As a tech writer over 50, they’ll be looking for new jobs soon.

  5. My sis-in-law was one of those calls last week. Later this week I’ll go clean off her computer and then we’ll hit the web looking for an eMac. Her mind is already made up (as her friends can tell you!).

  6. crunge,

    Why would the local PC guy recommend a Mac? His business would go away! I remember at a MacWorld Expo walking behind a couple of consultants talking to each other. They loved Macs, wished they could install them for customers, but installed PCs instead because of all the extra service calls (and revenue) they’d get.

    If that isn’t telling, I don’t know what is.

  7. rogozhin: You dont have to run ad-aware, spybot, or blaster…
    Just install the windows updates when they come along, make sure she’s behind a firewall, and tell her not to click on anything she doesnt recognize. Its that simple…Hell, I’ve been doing this without even using an AV program for almost 10 years now.. and still nowone in the fam has had a virus…Zip, Zero, Zilch….

  8. No IE with ActiveX poking around in the System on the Mac– I predict very few problems with spyware, no matter how hard anyone tries. It would be very difficult– MS’s open doors makes it easy.

    Dvorak also discounts the power of the “volunteer” Mac support community. Vat a nincompoop.


  9. “It won’t be long before these fella’s employers realize their ancient take on technology”

    PUHLEAZE….Beleive it or not, Alot of Windows Applications are light years ahead of the mac’s counterparts…What are you living under?

  10. “But when they get hit, there will be few resources to help them, since the antispyware community is busy with all the PC-related problems.”

    What a moronic thing to say. Its supply and demand my dear friend I could go with the windows platform where its seems that the biggest software growth industry is security and anti – spyware, spam, virus, etc. Where the biggest story of 2005 will be all the crap that your computer collects with out you realising it. Or I could use a Mac where the security and anti – stuff industry is tiny and the biggest story of 2005 will be how far ahead Tiger is from Windows.

    Tough choice.

  11. NoMacForYou…

    That it like going to the same place for your vacation year after year, always driving tha same car and never moving to a new home. Why would one surf (the web9 to always only visit the same links?

    makes no sense

    and the word is (are?)……


  12. The next time somebody benchmarks a Wintel PC against a Mac tell them to make shure all of their Anti-Spyware and Anti-Adware software is running while benchmarking. Running a PC without them is not realistic in this day and time and should be figured into any benchmark. With all of those high gHz cycles looking for malware you will get a more accurate measure of REAL WORLD PC performance.

  13. WE own both systems, 5 computers hooked up to DSL just about 12 plus hours a day.
    Never had a virus in either Mac or PC.
    Like nomacforyou states: “Just install the windows updates when they come along, make sure she’s behind a firewall, and tell her not to click on anything she doesnt recognize. Its that simple…”

    Plus have anti-virus software – we have Norton Anti-Virus.

    Apple has security updates for its system software – Are all you Mac owners ignoring it? Not me.


    And one wonders why Apple does not promote this surf without worry mantra with a Mac? Do they know something we don�t?


    NoPCZone – the anti spyware software is not running in the background on our pcs. It goes on when it is clicked on. However the NOrton Anti-Virus is running.
    Our experience shows our PCs just as fast as our Macs when using Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, etc.

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