Wired News: ‘Mac attack a load of crap’

“Is the sky falling in on our smug little Mac universe? On Tuesday, there was news of a security hole in Apple’s Safari web browser that allows a system to be compromised by merely visiting a website. And last week, the first worm to pose a serious threat to Mac OS X, Leap-A or Oompa Loompa, raised its ugly little head,” Leander Kahney writes for Wired News.

“I’m not going to be running any anti-virus software anytime soon, just as I haven’t run it for many years,” Kahney writes. “Also, I’m not going to turn off any preferences that make my daily computing habits any less convenient (the browser takeover is protected against by disabling the ‘Open safe files after downloading’ preference in Safari). The smuggest of smug Mac users is right: the platform is more secure, and these new security threats are no more threatening that a paraplegic kitten.”

“These Mac security holes are a storm in a teacup. They’ve inspired hundreds of stories in the press and even the national network news, but if they were Windows holes, no one would have blinked. That’s because holes in Windows are routine, business as usual, while it now appears the Mac is under attack thanks to Apple’s brand-new high profile. But this isn’t the case,” Kahney writes. “Last month, there were four ‘massive’ virus attacks on Windows, according to Commtouch, an antispam and antivirus vendor. Indeed, viruses are now so aggressive, they routinely outpace attempts by antivirus companies to distribute protective signatures. This state of affairs is now so common, I hadn’t noticed — and I work for a technology news site.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “Judge Bork” for the link.]

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Related articles:
Report: Apple developing fix for automatic execution of shell scripts – February 21, 2006
Ars Technica: Fears over new Mac OS X ‘Leap-A’ trojan pointless – February 20, 2006
Datamonitor: ‘Mac OS is just as vulnerable to malware as Windows’ – February 20, 2006

45 Comments

  1. Another level headed response to the rash of chicken little articles that have flooded the internet about Mac OS X security.

    Thanks Wired! I have another article to forward back to any PC weenie who tries to email me an “I told you so” link about the latest Mac OS X ‘security threats’.

  2. Well for the guys at MacWorld who had to break a sweat for about a day to get Leap-A to reek havoc on their test Macs, what is really the fuss if a user really has go out of his/her way to make it work?!

    This is not to say that Mac OS X is somehow hacker proof, but at the end of the day we all know that Mac OS X is inherently more secure than Windows for various reasons (lacking things like ActiveX is an example).

  3. All this stuff is giving me the shits!

    I am not a techie just a devoted user and I am just so confused with all the stuff coming from the ‘experts’, which differs quite a bit from person to person.

    Then there are all the users here at MDN. I and most of us, I guess, do not know the credentials of the people on this site and who to listen to and who not to!

    A week ago we were all bulletproof and today we are full of worms!!!!

    CONFUSED!

  4. My favorite line:
    “. . . and these new security threats are no more threatening that a paraplegic kitten.”

    What a visual. Please open your hearts and give generously to the Paraplegic Kitten Foundation (PKF). Thank you.

  5. Affy, Mac OS X is very secure compared to Windows. It does have some holes, but they will likely be plugged before anything widespread occurs.

    We will never have viruses the likes Windows sufferers XPerience.

    Run under a non-admin user account.

    Don’t download files from dubious sources and you’ll be fine. I run a virus scanner every few months because my Windows-suffering company mandates it.

    Don’t sweat it.

  6. Now what we need is to get CNN Headline News to probe a little more deeply into this “Mac virus” thing like Wired and others have done. To listen to it last night you’d think this new “Mac virus” was running rampant throughout the net causing tons of grief.

    I wish news organizations would start competing with each other more on terms of accuracy rather than who can drum up the most shock & awe.

    Bill O’Reily are you listening? Go get em.

  7. While Symantec trumpets these “proof-of-concept” exploits developped in their laboratories, they fail to mention that their Antiviruse would NOT have prevented these so-called viruse.

    They also don’t mention that one of the worst MacOSX vulnerabilities was in Symantec own antivirus software, a buffer overflow when decompressing zip files in search for nonexistent virus signature.

    It has been Microsoft mantra, echoed by gullible journalists, that “All software is insecure”, so people should buy Windows. They fail to mention that Microsoft OSES is demonstrably the most insecure of all, by a huge margin.

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