Symantec’s Mac OS X claims dismissed as nonsense, FUD

“Symantec’s claim that Apple’s OS X will soon attract more attention from hackers has been dismissed as nonsense, and worse,” Dan Ilett writes for ZDNet UK. “Symantec has sparked outrage by claiming on Monday that the operating system OS X was set to come under increased hacking and malware attacks. In its Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec said that Apple’s userbase was more likely to come under attack, citing Apple’s growing market share and the 37 vulnerabilities that were found in OS X last year — a trend it hinted would continue.”

“But ZDNet UK readers have rebutted Symantec’s claims in a series of angry responses, saying the security company was using marketing tactics of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) to fuel its sales,” Ilett writes. “‘What a load of FUD,’ said one anonymous IT manager. ‘Anyone with the smallest sense of knowledge about any of these operating systems knows that the biggest issue with Windows security is the basic design flaws that it keeps dragging on from its past eras, to ensure compatibility.'”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Symantec warns about Mac OS X security threat – March 21, 2005

38 Comments

  1. “Viruses are spread because of the massive interconnectivity of PCs to each other, something Mac just doesn’t have yet.”

    Silly me. *I* figured that virus authors, like other break-in artists, simply plied their craft wherever it got results, and avoided places where it didn’t… places too hard for them to break into.

    Beeble (cough), this may come as a shock, but… Macs do actually have the ability to connect to many devices, including other Macs, and even (when they really really have to) to Wintel gear. We surf the web, share files, and can even dress ourselves. Heck, some of us don’t even use AOL anymore.

    Maybe you could enlighten us by explaining what “massive inteconnectivity” means*. Because if “massive connectivity” means… the part that gets me all the spyware, malware, pop-ups and … viruses, then… I’ll stick with whatever kind of connectivity it is that my Mac has already. But thanks anyway.

    *While you’re considering your definition, you should know that Apple has pioneered a number of the “connectivity” standards that allow your PC to be able to connect to anything at all, massively or otherwise.

  2. Beeble,

    You are completely missing the boat, with your assumption that increased market share will attract viruses and malware to the Mac platform.

    As someone who’s had way too many friends who were hard-core hackers, I can unequivably tell you that 80% of the hackers out there who are targeting the wintel platform do so, not because it has 90%+ of marketshare, but because they wholeheartedly _hate_ Microsoft, Gates and the culture of intimidation, theft and utter mediocrity that they stand for and represent. Period.

  3. “More FUD and hater columns from a Microsoft shill in the media.”

    Now there’s an ironic statement, considering this site is little more than hater columns and Mac shilling.

  4. Reporter: “Sir Edmund, why did you climb Mount Everest?”

    Sir Edmund: “Because it was there, and I could!”

    Reporter: “Beeble, why have malicious coders worldwide written 68,736 known destructive viruses, Trojan Horses, and worms for the Windows operating system?

    Beeble: “Because it was there, and they could!”

    Get a grip, B. Windows is little more than a Model-T with a new coat of blue and green paint. Until it is rewritten FROM THE TIRES UP, it will continue to cough, sputter, and break down, leaving its users shaking fearfully in the middle of a dusty, dirty road.

    (Oh, and by defending Mr. Gates and his offerings so vehemently, are YOU an M$ sycophant?)

  5. Beeble said:
    “Viruses are spread because of the massive interconnectivity of PCs to each other, something Mac just doesn’t have yet.”

    I think he meant that Windows is an easy target because Microsoft made great efforts to design Windows 95 with features that allow a programmer to write a program that can control all other programs in the computer (aka interoperability) in every way possible (sorta like Applescript with no limitations.) The problem is, Microsoft forgot to include any basic security precautions (apparently they didn’t realize that computers would one day be connected to an internet.) Subsequently, the programmers that mainly utilize the interoperability features are the virus/ad/spy-ware writers. Interoperability is a feature that Microsoft built in!
    A good programmer can make a Windows machine do some “cool” stuff because of the interoperability built in.
    A bad guy can make a Windows machine do all sorts of “bad” stuff because of the lack of security built in.

  6. Apple has near 70% market share in some segments yet zero viruses – how come symantec? Unix is also the predominant OS for internet servers, yet again – why no big virus infections there symantec? Answer: becuause all the viruses are on Windows stupid! Market share is just something analysts look at.

  7. No admin password no viruses. You just can’t add anything to Mac OSX without the admin user name and password. Unless you give it away or they hack it some how. That’s the only way a virus could get in and we all know they can’t. There has yet to be one virus for OSX that has been actually proven to be real.

  8. Beeble — add his name to the roster. The few, the proud, the so pathetic that they hang out in MDN just to tell how much we suck.

    Ron, Sputnik, NoMacForYou. They come and they go. But wouldn’t life be so much more boring without them?

  9. “(Oh, and by defending Mr. Gates and his offerings so vehemently, are YOU an M$ sycophant?)”

    I wasn’t defending Gates. I wasn’t even defending Windows, just reiterating why Windows was more prone to virus attacks than ANY other OS.

    I know the Mac sycophants tend to think in terms of Us vs Them, but for the vast majority of us, the computer is just a tool, not some cult where everyone who isn’t a member is a moron.

    In fact, I love the Mac itself. I use it all the time for my work and am getting my own soon to run FCP.

    But I HATE the cult thing. It’s disheartening that I can’t come to a site like this and just get news without being bombarded by hatred of Windows or illogical/irrational defense of everything Mac. MDN is like the Rush Limbaugh of computers.

  10. “I think he meant that Windows is an easy target because Microsoft made great efforts to design Windows 95 with features that allow a programmer to write a program that can control all other programs in the computer (aka interoperability) in every way possible (sorta like Applescript with no limitations.)”

    What I really meant was that PCs interconnect via e-mail and networking much more with each other than Macs do. Let’s say that both OS’s are equally secure, and that Windows still has 95% of the market to Apple’s 2%. If I want to write a virus that can only run on one platform and I want it to spread via an e-mail attachment, would I write it for the Mac or Windows? Even if I could write a virus to infect a Mac, there’s virtually no chance that it would spread via e-mail given the paltry market share. The virus would die as soon as it hit a PC, which is much more likely than hitting another Mac. It wouldn’t even be worth the effort.

  11. Beeble – even if you (or I) could write a virus to infect a Mac (or indeed act as a “carrier” for both Mac and Windows), the thing that’s ultimately going to stop you are the facts that a) none of the Macintosh’s e-mail clients will allow code to run unchecked and b) that turning a Macintosh into a member of a “zombie” network is unlikely to be feasible unless the user is logged in as root or the user supplies the admin name/password combination to allow the the “zombie” code to be installed.

  12. MCCFR, I understand what you’re saying but security is built around KNOWN methods of hacking. Hackers don’t operate that way, and anyone (even Jobs) will tell you that there’s no such thing as a totally secure system. If Mac ever got up to a worthwhile market share, believe me, they’d find a way.

  13. Beeble, you are out of your league in understanding this issue.. Viruses have self replicating features that simply are not possible on a Mac because a ADMIN password is required to install/alter the core services of OS X. Some actions cannot even be enabled unless you go in as the root user.

    Total opposite from XP/200X, where programs can go in and actively alter the system folder which can result in often catastrophic results.

    If you understand that very basic fundamental difference, then you understand why a mac is simply not as vunerable as a PC, end of story.

  14. My Mac’s ethernet cable is no more or less “connected” compared to Windows. It’s all about the virus magnet that plugs into it. Internet Explorer is not a browser, but a platform that executes code, more than likely by someone logged in by default as an administrator. Ditto for Outlook. ActiveX is a pox on mankind. THAT’S why the Windows world has 69,000+ WINDOWS viruses.

    Even if the fallacy of marketshare is considered, there are still MILLIONS of Mac users connected to the Internet, but ZERO viruses. It’s not coincidence the big iron servers that run the Internet DNS are exclusively UNIX. Not a ONE Windows server.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.