Apple Macs and viruses: Fact vs. FUD

“2006 seems to be the year of Mac FUD… Fear, Uncertainty, and a new “D”- Disinformation… That’s the world in which Macs seek to increase market share,” Bambi Hambi writes for Mac360. “Why? News headlines proclaim viruses on Mac OS X, new vulnerabilities, and potential exploits. Is there truth to the news? Are viruses a problem on the Mac?”

Mac360 reader and former Windows user Michael Kenney looks at the issues in a two part series investigating some common “New Myths” about the Mac:
• Myth #1: Macs are just as vulnerable to Viruses, Worms, and Trojans as Windows computers.
• Myth #2: Macs using Intel Processors are more vulnerable now because they use the same processors found in generic PCs.
• Myth #3: Mac vulnerabilities have increased 228% since 2003, but Windows vulnerabilities have increased a much smaller amount. That means the Mac is MORE vulnerable than Windows!
• Myth #4: Now that Macs are getting more popular, aren’t virus writers going to start attacking the Mac more?
• Myth #5: Mac users now have to purchase and run Anti-virus software, install firewalls and scan their computers for spyware the same as Windows users.

Part one (myths 1-3) here.
Part two (myths 4-5) here.

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Related articles:
Symantec Antivirus software flaw allows hackers to seize control of PCs without user interaction – May 25, 2006
‘Mac security’ garbage reports continue to proliferate – May 10, 2006
ZDNet: Reduce OS X security threats – ignore security software – May 05, 2006
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
Hackers already targeting viruses for Microsoft’s Windows Vista – August 04, 2005

27 Comments

  1. MacDailyNews Take from the article, “eWeek: Intel transition a ‘security non-issue’ for Apple Mac” – January 30, 2006:

    “Macs aren’t secure due to obscurity… By design, Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows. Period. There are over 20 million Mac OS X users in the world and there are still zero (0) viruses. If platforms’ install bases dictated the numbers of viruses, the fact that Mac OS X has zero (0) viruses discounts “security via obscurity.” There should be at least some Mac OS X viruses. There are none. The reason for this fact is not attributable to “obscurity,” it’s attributable to superior security design. According to CNET, the Windows Vista Beta was released “to about 10,000 testers” at the time the first Windows Vista virus arrived. So much for the security via obscurity myth.”

  2. “just preaching to the choir. Until this gets published in the national media it is a waste. Its a good article, but it needs to be published translated and reported on all over the globe.”

    Not necessarily, I’m about to become a switcher and what made me certain I was making the right decision was by reading sites like this where I could see what actual Mac users were saying.

    I’m now on a mission to convert everyone I meet.

  3. zogby, you’re confusing Mac360’s Tera Patricks with porndom’s Tera Patrick. And I seriously doubt that Mac360’s Tera and Bambi were ever involved with porn. (aside from purchasing some…but that’s really not the point is it?) Tera (the Mac360 Tera) is a serious Mac pro, currently taking a break while she copes with a recurrance of her cancer. Bambi is simply your friendly neighborhood Techie babe who could make you feel like a mindless twit compared to her knowledge. So much for reading books like assumed covers. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. The ONLY <u>possible</u> truth about the “myth” of switching to Intel processors is that malware writers are more fluent in x86 code from hacking Windows for so long. The only thing this may result in are an increase in Trojans. STILL with the underpinnings of OS X being Unix based, it won’t be as easy as they may think. With Trojans it’s just a simple matter of safe computing practices. Still there are ALWAYS those who are going to open that “strange” attachment” – shame…….

    <u>Quote from article:</u> We Mac users are supposed to be more educated, intelligent and financially secure, aren’t we?

    This may be STATISTICALLY true (I’d like to see a source with HARD data), and I am a Mac user – I find it offensive, self-congratulatory, and arrogant.

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