Symantec cries wolf with misplaced Mac OS X ‘security’ warning

“In a perfect would [sic], people might pay for security software based on the number of attacks prevented and the severity of those threats. The bigger the threat, the harder the software works and the more it protects, the more you pay. Seems fair enough,” David Coursey writes for eWeek. “In the case of Mac OS X, if you paid for what you got, the price for security software would be zero. The price would thus equal the number of virus and malware threats that target Apple’s Unix-based operating system.”

Coursey writes, “So why do Mac users pay so much—often as much at $70 for anti-virus alone and as much as $150 for a security ‘suite?’ Using the same math, Windows anti-virus software would probably cost $1,000 a desktop, yet it’s easy to find software for as little as $20 in the stores. Mac OS X users pay significantly more for protection than Windows users, protection so far they have needed only in theory or ‘just in case’ a big new threat appears. People are getting wise to this. So is it any wonder that Symantec, in the eternal search for the next dollar, is out with a report that seems to predict dire consequences for future Mac users? It’s like a teacher once told me, ‘Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Especially when you don’t have any steak.’

“Is it any surprise that Symantec would beat the drums of fear as loudly as possible? This is, after all, a company that has for years persuaded Mac users to pay $70 for software ‘necessary’ to protect their computers against nonexistent threats,” Coursey writes. “This makes me wonder whether the real threat that concerns Symantec isn’t from Mac OS X viruses and malware. Rather, it’s customers noticing that they’ve paid a lot of money for Norton anti-virus software that they didn’t really need.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Standing ovation for Mr. Coursey. If the world could magically dump Windows and instead run Apple’s Mac OS X, would Symantec be able to stay in business selling “security” software? And if Symantec thinks that we’re going to forget about their Mac OS X FUD report, they’re sadly mistaken.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Symantec’s Mac OS X claims dismissed as nonsense, FUD – March 22, 2005
Symantec warns about Mac OS X security threat – March 21, 2005
68,736 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – March 12, 2005
Mac OS X has no viruses; what’s wrong with Windows? – February 11, 2004


  1. I think Symantic is using FUD to protect its PC sales turf more than just make sales to Mac users. It wants to prevent PC users from potentially migrating to Macs by making the Mac look just as vulnerable. Then it makes sales from both sides.

    But if a large amount of PCers did migrate, they would soon learn that they don’t need Symantic and Symantic would lose sales. This is really what is behind their FUD.

  2. Unless, of course, Symantec is actually funding hackers to bring viruses to the Mac and they’ve had a recent break through…

    Sorry, my trust for large corporations is zilch these days.

  3. why is macdailynews allowing pop up ads to sneak by the pop blocker in Firefox 1.0.2? I just downloaded Fx and visited this page first time today and I see popup ads. I am like WTF!!!!!!!!!

    I thought MacDailyNews fixed that hmmm..

    (yeah I saw the MDN Magic Word…which was “family” weird)

    anyway to stay on topic… The article is right on spot! Remember Virusbarrier? I can’t believe Symantec will do the same thing that they did last year or so. I only have Virex installed… why? cuz I am .mac user so it was free for them.

  4. hey Jimbo

    Crichton writes a fictional story wrapped around actual facts while the eco terrorists try to spin “facts” based on pure fiction

    magic word air – as in eco-terrorists are a total waste of air

  5. I think though that more and more people are acknowledging and accepting the fact that Apple is going to be gaining market share and this is a good thing. Shame on Symantec for trying to take that and use it to make a buck by selling FUD. The way their statement was worded it was definitely meant to instill fear.

    Now if they had said something like “Apple is going to be gaining market share and as they do they will present more of a target and we are gearing up our Macintosh division to meet any threat that may come along.” That would have served their purpose and been much more acceptable.

  6. Given M$’s historical penchant for foul play, you’d think they would’ve written a virus for OS X by now, but no, not even the devil’s company could. On the other hand, M$ just can’t code right.

  7. In this corner we have Symantec, maker of truckloads of money due to the general insecurity of the ‘Doze. It is their meal ticket.
    In the other corner we have Micro$oftopoly, the world’s largest purveyor of stolen, copied and me-too technology. Seeing more money in selling AV programs than in fixing the ‘Doze, they decide to enter a market created by their own insecureware.

    If you are Symantec you are now in fear of having your market taken from you by the very people who have fed you for years. What are you going to do? Spread FUD about every other platform, hoping to sell more software and services to them. The “report” is more about selling than security.
    Methinks Symantec knows it’s about to be “Netscaped”.

  8. As recent reports have all stated, the Mac OS is becoming a bigger target for hackers and virus-makers as, for the first time, the Mac is becoming a serious contender for the consumer personal computer. Because of this it is only common sense to keep a virus protection program on your system and keep it up to date with all the latest virus definitions. If anything purely to stop your Mac being used as a conduit to send windows-based viruses to other windows machines.

    I am happy to get virus protection from my .Mac account and keep it up to date at all times. What would be better value is to have a full internet security suite included too. Sure, the threat of viruses on OSX is laughable at the moment, but one day it MIGHT not be. I for one intend to be one of the prepared few that stays secure.

    FUD is one thing, reality and common sense is another.

  9. All AV software for any platform only protects against known viruses. If there are no known viruses then having up to date AV software will not protect you from the very first virus attack.

    AV software on your Mac only protects Windows users from Windows viruses resent by your Mac.

    Screw em’. Let them buy their own protection. AV software is not yet needed for the Mac.

  10. You know, I agree that this is a forum for Apple news, and not a political forum. And while my political views are different from those of the right wingers that post here, let me ask you this.

    If you wish to be taken seriously, why do you constantly name call, and ignore facts? It is true that Bush did use scare tactics leading up the war in Iraq. He told the entire world that Iraq was a threat that it wasn’t, and connected it to 9/11 which it wasn’t as well.

    And the to be so blaise over a war that has caused death on both sides (go tell your little “resort” joke to some mothers that lost sons and daughters in Iraq and see if they laugh) should make you ashamed of yourself, no matter what your political views are.

    If you have a differing view, try at the very least to rebuttle respectively and with a little consideration to what you are actually talking about.

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