Windows virus threatens 170-year-old Toledo newspaper’s perfect record, Apple Macs save the day

“Newspaper editors for a century have called each day’s paper ‘The Daily Miracle,’ in tribute to all the things that have to happen before it ends up on your doorstep. But nine days ago, high-tech disaster struck the newspaper. For a moment, it looked like there was a real possibility that The Blade would not be able to publish a paper for – what other day could be more appropriate – Friday, Jan. 13. Yet they did,” Jack Lessenberry reports for The Toledo Blade.

“‘It truly was a miracle that we published The Blade that morning, and we did it all working together,’ said Kurt Franck, Blade managing editor. What happened was that the newspaper was ambushed by a high-tech varmint. Despite firewalls and other protective systems, a deadly computer virus broke through and hit the newspaper’s network shortly before 10 a.m. on Jan. 12. Within a short period of time, almost nothing was working. The Blade was cut off from the Internet, from e-mail, and from much of its own material,” Lessenberry reports. “The Blade’s first edition was published on Dec. 19, 1835. One hundred and seventy years later, a high-tech criminal tried to do something that civil wars and epidemics have failed to do – prevent The Blade from putting out a paper.”

“Staffers from different departments worked together side by side. People kept their tempers and worked far into the night. Most of The Blade’s computers wouldn’t talk to each other, but the newspaper’s MacIntoshes were immune to the virus,” Lessenberry reports. “In the end, the Macs and the flash drives saved the day. The paper got off the presses three hours late, but it was printed – and delivered.”

“Though computer experts were called in to start working on fixing the sabotage, problems persisted for several days, and the expensive and tedious task of cleaning and disinfecting each individual computer terminal is still under way,” Lessenberry reports. “The virus took a heavy financial toll on The Blade, Mr. Zerbey said; the paper lost many thousands of dollars in advertising alone that it was unable to publish. But it will lead to better security systems. “We’re setting up a disaster recovery room that will be manned at all times with computers that are immune to viruses,” Mr. Zerbey said. The Blade’s internal network will also be cleaned and strengthened.”

Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “Brian T.” for the link.]

MacDailyNews Take: It’s good to have a stronger network and disaster recovery procedures in place, but wouldn’t it make a heck of a lot more sense to get some more Macs? Based on what happened, that solution seems more logical to us.

P.S. Now there’s a viable Macintosh ad (based on an actual story) for you right there, Apple.

P.P.S. As for this part:
On Friday the 13th, The Blade was flooded with angry calls from readers who noticed the imperfections in their paper, or complained because it was delivered late. “I stopped counting after 66 calls that morning,” said Mr. Corsoe, the sports editor. “But it was funny – as soon as I explained about the computer virus, they understood. Almost all of them instantly became sympathetic.” – See the article Defending Windows over Mac a sign of mental illness from our own SteveJack. It’s all about “Stockholm Syndrome” and why Windows users have such difficulty seeing the glaring truth.

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  1. Why shouldn’t MDN tell it like it is? The Macs save the day! Great! Let’s lock them in a dark, dusty room we’ll call the Disaster Recovery Room. That’ll teach ’em!

    Oh, Moe: It would be foolish for Apple to use this story in an advertising campaign. Screaming out to the world “Our computers are immune to viruses!!!” is a great way to get hackers targeting your system. And when the (inevitable) first virus hits the Mac, you’ll have a bunch of angry customers (and the resulting lawsuits).

    It’s best for Apple to stay quiet on the no viruses/spyware thing. Let others do the talking for them. They should instead be promoting ease of use, stability, design, etc.

    Like the virus writers don’t know this? Are they living in the Disaster Recovery Room? No, Macs aren’t “immune” to viruses – there just haven’t been any yet (knock wood), but trumpeting the Macs virus resistance would be a good thing to do.

  2. 5 to 1 that their Mac adverse IT person (who went with PCs to begin with)decides to use a Linux box in the disaster room. Some IT folks just don’t learn… even when the answer is staring them in the face.

    Magic word “likely”!

  3. Somebody should send this to the school board in Colorado thats replacing its Macs with PC’s so that its Tech Support group can have more time to spend on fixing PC’s.

  4. <“I stopped counting after 66 calls that morning,” said Mr. Corsoe, the sports editor. “But it was funny – as soon as I explained about the computer virus, they understood. Almost all of them instantly became sympathetic.”>

    It’s really pathetic that the virus attack has now become so common place that people aren’t angry when it happens – they are sympathetic to the victim. A “victim” that continually insistst on using Windows- WELL KNOWN to be vulnerable to virus attacks.

    Sounds a lot like people that have a terrible chemical dependancy. No matter how bad things are they never blame the drugs until they hit rock bottom.

    There is just no helping some people.


  5. “No need to buy more Macs. Just throw money at the problem. And the next Service Pack will take care of everything. Trust me.”
    – Typhoid Bill

    Random Thought of the Day:
    Barry White was partly responsible for at least half of the current U.S. population.

  6. You would think that they would get the message and just pay for some Macs and never have that happen again. But no, they’re going to make a room that will still get infected like the others because they still insist on using an unsafe OS like Windows. Good thing they at least had a few Macs to save the day.

  7. If you put a Windows PC without plugs or cables inside a 3 foot thick lead container filled with concrete and launched it into space heading away from our solar system, some way some how a virus would still find a way to infect it. And Symantec has a contingency plan for just such an occurrence.

  8. There’s probably a reason they can’t switch to more Macs. It probably has to do with the software. I’m sure they are using specific software that only runs on Windows. Its the 3rd party vendors that dictate what computers we use. If more software were written that was web based, it would make it much easier to replace Windows based machines.

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