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.

Contacts:

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

53 Comments

  1. As soon as there are hundreds of reviews saying OS X Tiger has all the problems that M$ Winhose is facing now, MAC users have to worry.
    This “Aussi” earns a MAC Mini 1,42 to test for 10 weeks or so !
    In the land of the blinds the one eye has the vision.

  2. As a Mac user, and being very happy that there’s no virus/malware for our beloved platform, security is still something we all need to have good practice on. That means not relying entirely on the fact that there’s no virus on OS X–we shouldn’t let our guards down and become careless. And carelessness is going to be the biggest problem–I’m sure there are lots of hackers who’d love to grease Mac users with devastation.

    OS X’s superior architecture gave us a very comfortable computing environment and experience. Let’s not blow it through carelessness.

    Magic Word: respect–you know what that means.

  3. Yes, lets all bury our heads in the sand and repeat the mantra:

    It can’t happen here,
    It can’t happen here,
    It can’t happen here,
    It can’t happen here,
    It can’t happen here . . .

    As Carl Saga once said, “Absence of proof is not proof of absence”. OS X has no viri YET! We can only hope that remains the case, but the real truth is that there is no system that can’t be broken into given sufficient time and determination. To not at least be vigilant is just stupid, and Apple isn’t stupid, that’s why they release periodic security updates. They’re vigilant, they find weaknesses, and then they fix them. If some of you guys were running Apple we’d still be using OS 9 and pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

  4. OK, now I’m just confused:

    “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.”

    Let’s see, apple [sic] is behind Microsoft, but Microsoft is behind UNIX, but apple is UNIX.

    Huh?

    And, guys:

    “it’s” is a contaction for “it is”
    “its” is the possessive form of “it”

    I don’t know how to be “elocuent,” but I can be eloquent.

  5. Bryan: Just wait and see what happens if Macintels take off.

    It’s not the Intel processor that gets attacked, it’s the OS running on top of it. OS X on an Intel is no less secure than OS X on the PPC.

  6. The entire ZDNet consortium has had a hard-on for Macintosh, Linux and anything not WinTel for as long as I can remember.

    I think MDN does a good public service when they debunk their crap whenever it surfaces like stinking sewage from time to time.

    As I said before, I would never buy a single line of code from those sleezy FUD muckers, Symantec, Sophos and McAfee. If (and it is a big if) a virus is ever successfully created for Mac OS x, I will go with Open Source virus detection like ClamXav.

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  7. Those two above “malware” examples are not malware.

    The first one requires physical access or admin password to install onto the computer. With such requirements, anyone can install a script to delete the entire hard drive.

    The second one was patched within a week, and it requires quite a few agreements by the mac user to get deployed. Maybe a handful of potential victims there.

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