ZDNet Australia publishes latest Mac OS X security FUD article

“Apple Macintosh users believe they are immune from security problems and need to wake up to the potential of attack — before they are rudely awoken by a destructive piece of malware,” Munir Kotadia reports for ZDNet Australia.

Kotadia was also happy to report on March 30, 2005, “Research firm Gartner has issued a warning to companies using Mac OS to guard against malicious code attacks and spyware.” Kotadia has previously reported on March 21, 2005, “Security vendor Symantec is warning that Apple’s OS X operating system is increasingly becoming a target for hackers and malware authors.”

All this, despite the fact that to date Apple’s Mac OS X has suffered zero (0) virus cases in the five years (September 13, 2000) since Mac OS X was released to the public. For comparison, according to Apple, there are “close to 16 million Mac OS X users” in the world and there are still zero (0) viruses. According to CNET, the Windows Vista Beta was released “to about 10,000 testers” at the time the first Windows Vista virus arrived.

Kotadia’s latest waxes poetically about the Renepo (Opener) malware for Mac OS X, of which Apple publicly stated, “Opener is not a virus, Trojan horse, or worm. It does not propagate itself across a network, through email, or over the Web. Opener can only be installed by someone who already has access to your system and provides proper administrator authentication.”

Kotadia also extensively quotes Paul Ducklin, who is, unsurprisingly, antivirus firm Sophos’ head of technology, about the “alarming risks” facing Mac OS X users. Kotadia throws in copious quotes from the esteemed IT security manager Mark Borrie from the prestigious University of Otago in New Zealand about how “The University of Otago’s Apple desktops are all loaded with antivirus protection just in case of an outbreak.” [Italics in the previous sentence indicate our words and can definitely be taken sarcastically.]

Kotadia latest FUD piece on “Mac OS X security” can be read in full here. Same old, same old.

MacDailyNews Take: Does Kotadia seem to be on a one-man mission to deliver FUD about Mac OS X security? You decide.

According to Kotadia, “Apple Macintosh users believe they are immune from security problems and need to wake up to the potential of attack.” Okay, fine. What should we do, employ anti-virus software to tax our processors and potentially cause issues, so that when “The Big One” hits, if it ever hits, we won’t have a virus definition to defend against it anyway?

Hey, use anti-virus software if you wish. Use firewalls, of course. Do your best not to spread Windows viruses if you want. But, don’t get all worked up because some anti-virus companies want to sell you software and other companies see benefit if Mac OS X’s unmatched security record is tarnished, facts be damned.

Some people still need to face facts: Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows by design, no matter how many articles Munir Kotadia manages to bang out on his Windows PC.


Related MacDailyNews articles:
Joke of the month: Gartner warns of Mac OS X ‘spyware infestation’ potential – March 30, 2005
Symantec details flaws in its antivirus software – March 30, 2005
Motley Fool writer: ‘I’d be surprised if Symantec ever sells a single product to a Mac user again’ – March 24, 2005
Symantec cries wolf with misplaced Mac OS X ‘security’ warning – March 23, 2005
Symantec’s Mac OS X claims dismissed as nonsense, FUD – March 22, 2005
Symantec warns about Mac OS X security threat – March 21, 2005
Apple: ‘Opener’ is not a virus, Trojan horse, or worm – November 02, 2004

Hackers already targeting viruses for Microsoft’s Windows Vista – August 04, 2005
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005
ZDNet: How many Mac OS X users affected by the last 100 viruses? None, zero, not one, not ever – August 18, 2005
Intel CEO Otellini: If you want security now, buy a Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC – May 25, 2005
Apple touts Mac OS X security advantages over Windows – April 13, 2005
97,467 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – April 05, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X is virus-free – March 18, 2005
Cybersecurity advisor Clarke questions why anybody would buy from Microsoft – February 18, 2005
Security test: Windows XP system easily compromised while Apple’s Mac OS X stands safe and secure – November 30, 2004
Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004
Information Security Investigator says switch from Windows to Mac OS X for security – September 24, 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
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
Virus and worm problems not just due to market share; Windows inherently insecure vs. Mac OS X – August 24, 2003


  1. Mature Mac users understand that there are no known viruses for the Mac. (Only some Mac users believe they are immune from security problems.)

    Antivirus Companies issue warnings of a malicious virus attack on Macs.

    Is there any value at all to reporting of this sort?

  2. I work for the Tech Center at my University….when new students moved into the dorms they were all forced (Pc and Mac users) to install Sophos antivirus if they wanted to get on the internet from their room. Well, with in a few days of school we had over 100 mac users coming in complaining that their Apple computer “just stopped working.” Turns out the version of Sophos antivirus that the University wanted on the Macs wasn’t compatible with Tiger and broke the system software. Glad Mac users have anti virus protection, does a lot of a good.

  3. Apple behind MS which is behind Unix? Um, OSX *IS* Unix, you morons. In order to accomplish any of the listed malware modifications to your system the program must have ADMIN privileges on your system. If you know naything about Unix (these morons abviously don’t) you know that users log in on user accounts with encrypted and shadowed password files, not as ADMIN (root). I can break into any vault in the world if I get the administrator to give me access and the combination. That doesn’t make me a safe cracker. This isn’t a serious threat unless some Mac owner out there is monumentally stupid. These MS shills are simply trying to preserve their gravy train by scaring people away from alternatives to the MS OS, and by scaring uninformed Mac users into buying their useless products. Apple should frankly sue these people. This is malicious slander with intent to do harm.

  4. This guy is the like the windows poster boy, desperately trying to convince himself that he is not making an ongoing mistake by sticking with windows. Well, ol buddy ol pal, just keep telling yourself that while re-installing windows or patching the patch that broke the patch before last.

    The thing is, OS X ISN’T invulnerable. And someday, maybe, a virus WILL be written for it. And all the windozers will hoot and holler and gloat. Standing there up to their necks in pigsh*t laughing because we just got a dab of it on our shoe.

  5. I’ve got what may be a technically retarded question, or just a really good one–virus protection works by monitoring for known viruses, and detecting when an unknown virus/trojan whatever attempts to do something that it is allowed to do, but shouldn’t be doing.

    There have been these articles talking about how Mac users shoudl have virus protection, but what exactly is virus protection for OS X? Since there aren’t any OS X virus, there isn’t anything for the program to recognize, right? And under OS X, anything a program should be doing it isn’t allowed to do, unless the user enters a password a gives it permission, which one assumes would override any virus protection.

    How do you buy a program to protect yourself against something that doesn’t exist?

    So isn’t virus protection for OS X basically vaporware? Is there an OS X network security program sold that does anything other than scan for Windows exploits?

  6. These words are from the article;
    “I put apple a few years behind Microsoft in understanding how to manage security for the users. I put Microsoft a number of years behind the Unix community because the first systems that got hurt — ten or fifteen years ago — were Unix systems. Microsoft had to fix the security because it had such a bad reputation and to its credit, the company has really turned it around, ”

    The guy didn’t even capatilize Apple.
    I think that the guy has M$ Stockholm Syndome.
    He does not state anywhere that that Renepo is not a virus

  7. Apple’s Mac OS X reputation for being largely free of online security concerns is well known. Anyone who could write and spread such malware would be famous and wreak a lot of havoc. That has not yet happened. Why do you think that is so?

  8. Some people still need to face facts: Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows by design, no matter how many articles Munir Kotadia manages to bang out on his Windows PC.

    This says it all and is so true.

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