ZDNet: Reduce OS X security threats – ignore security software

“We were intrigued to receive a press release from McAfee today, warning us of vulnerabilities in Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. Not only were these vulnerabilities growing at an alarming rate, said the release, but ‘as more companies deploy Mac systems running on the Intel platform in mixed environments, the risk of infection will most likely increase.’ Fortunately for all of us, a second release had the answer: ‘McAfee today announced antivirus support for Intel-based Apple computers,'” ZDNet UK writes. “Phew. At last, the world is safe from the thousands of Intel-specific Mac viruses, worms, trojans and other malware that make today’s OS X experience one long struggle against evil. Or it would be, were there any. Which there aren’t. Not one… when we asked the company how big the risks actually were, it admitted that there was ‘no significant risk’ at the moment. But there might be in the future. People on Macs are complacent. Better safe than sorry.”

“For as long as OS X has been in the wild, discovered weaknesses and example code have been used by interested parties to predict actual attacks. Nothing remotely serious has materialised. In fact, if you look down the CERT list of alerts for 2005, the only one that mentions an Apple product by name is one caused by a bug in Symantec’s AntiVirus software for the Mac. Safe, effective risk management here involves taking the longest bargepole you can find and using it to not touch the snake oil,” ZDNet UK writes. “McAfee should be ashamed of itself, for raising fears of risks that do not exist, for coupling risks to Intel chips by association – which borders on the libelous – and for encouraging the very complacency it claims to cure. This push to sell inappropriate solutions will damage security and hinder the fight against malware… Mac OS X, like any complex computer system, is not invulnerable to attack. Educating users about modes of attack, keeping up to date with patches, watching for independent analysis of problems – all these are good ways to keep your guard up. Listening to someone crying wolf is not.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Squeezed between Mafiasoft on one side ($50 per year in “protection” money for a so-called Windows “security” service – from the same incompetents that can’t secure Windows in the first place, no less) and the specter of people switching to the secure Mac OS X on the other, these “security” firms are growing increasingly desperate. There’s a technical phrase for the type of maneuver that lowest of the low parasites such as McAfee pulled today (and Symantec tried to pull last year). We’ll just use acronym form and let you figure it out: BFSLOS. We’ll let you know when someone gets it right below.

(Hint: “L” stands for “Load”)

[UPDATE: 1:03PM EDT: Congratulations to MacDailyNews reader “Awaken World” (how appropriate) for correctly deciphering the acronym.]

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Related articles:
McAfee announces virus protection for Intel-based Apple Macs – May 05, 2006
BusinessWeek: New Apple Mac ads stir up Mac security overreaction – May 04, 2006
Unix expert: Mac OS X much more secure than Windows; recent Mac OS X security stories are media hype – May 03, 2006
Macs and viruses: the true story – May 02, 2006
Anti-Mac FUD machine shifts into overdrive – May 01, 2006
FUD Alert: Viruses don’t catch up to the Mac – May 01, 2006
BusinessWeek: Apple should hire security czar to combat uninformed media FUD – March 09, 2006
Spate of recent Mac security stories signal that Microsoft, others getting nervous – March 06, 2006
Mafiasoft: Microsoft to charge $50 per year for security service to protect Windows – February 07, 2006
Why pay Symantec for flawed ‘security’ app designed to protect Apple Macs from nonexistent threats? – December 27, 2005
‘Highly critical’ flaw in discovered in Symantec AntiVirus for Mac OS X – December 21, 2005
Why Symantec’s ‘scare tactics’ don’t worry Mac users – September 28, 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


  1. You know what’s really interesting about the ZDnet article (besides the fact that they spoke truth about McAfee’s FUD)?

    Who wrote it?

    Seriously. Who wrote the ZDnet piece uncovering McAfee’s self serving FUD press releases?

    Does ZDnet not want the public know who uncovered the McAfee scheme for fear of retribution?


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