CNN: Apple Mac attacks rare but rising

“Apple computers have long been prized for being relatively virus-free. But as more people use Apple products, experts say the company is increasingly becoming a target for cyber pranksters and criminals writing viruses and other forms of malware,” Steve Hargreaves reports for CNN.

“The threat was highlighted earlier this week after a handful of the company’s iPods were shipped with the RavMonE.exe virus,” Hargreaves reports.

“According to Apple, the virus affected less than 1 percent of the video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006,” Hargreaves reports. “The problem is thought to have originated in the manufacturing process by another company that builds iPods for Apple and isn’t believed to be a direct attack on the widely popular iPod itself.”

MacDailyNews Take: See what happens when the mainstream media gets a hold of something and tries to report upon things which they do not understand? The virus originated on a typically porous Windows computer and was mistakenly placed up a very small batch (under 25 incidents reported) of iPods. It only negatively affects Windows computers, but, come on now, what doesn’t affect Windows computers negatively?

Hargreaves continues, “Moreover, experts say the iPod isn’t likely to become a Petri dish for cyber germs, as it’s not directly connected to the Internet and is easily wiped clean and reloaded. But they do believe viruses targeting Apple’s Macintosh personal computers are increasing.”

“Oliver Friedrichs, director of security response at Symantec, a leading anti-virus software vendor, said 72 vulnerabilities were discovered in the Mac’s OS X operating system in 2006, up from 19 in 2004,” Hargreaves reports. “And Symantec identified six threats of malicious code written for the Mac OS X operating system in the first half of 2006, versus zero in the second half of 2005 and two the year before that.:

“‘It doesn’t mean more bugs are being introduced,’ Friedrichs said. ‘But it means attackers are increasingly looking at it,'” Hargreaves reports.

“Friedrichs said of the 13,000 virus threats Symantec sends out a month, maybe a dozen are related to the Mac, with the majority intended for Microsoft’s Windows platform,” Hargreaves reports. “One reason Apple has so far been shielded from nasty code is because its market share is relatively small,'” Hargreaves reports. “Apple accounted for 3.3 percent of total U.S. computer sales in 2004, and for 4.3 percent in 2005, according to technology research firm International Data Corporation.”

MacDailyNews Note: IDC pegged it at 5.8 percent for third quarter 2006 just this week. See a trend?

“Experts say these low numbers, and the unlikelihood that Apple’s share will ever account for much higher than the low double digits, is one reason why the Mac will remain relatively safe. These days, they say, viruses are written more for money than fame,” Hargreaves reports. “But perhaps a bigger reason for Apple’s seemingly safe position is the stability of Mac OS X… Although experts give Microsoft credit for greatly improving the security of its Windows operating system over the last few years, most still say Apple has the Seattle software giant beat.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Paul K.” from Bowie, Maryland for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, most still say Apple has Microsoft beat when it comes to security. Current score: Microsoft Windows: 150,000 viruses, Apple Mac: 0. It’s like golf: lower scores are better (Mac OS X is Tiger Woods, Windows is a paraplegic kitten). Yeah, we’d say Apple has Microsoft beat by a bit.

And we’ll see just how unlikely it is that “Apple’s share will ever account for much higher than the low double digits” a few years from now. Some people simply cannot fathom or accept radical change or see beyond the ends of their noses.

Contact CNN.com: http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form2a.html

(Web address of CNN article in question: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/10/20/apple.virus/index.html)

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Gartner: Apple Mac grabbed 6.1% of U.S. market share in Q3 06 – October 18, 2006

Microsoft upset with Apple for partially blaming Windows for iPod virus – October 19, 2006
Apple shipped Windows virus on small number of 5G video-capable iPods – October 17, 2006

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Why is Apple’s Mac OS X so much more secure than Microsoft’s Windows? – October 01, 2006
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Symantec details more security holes in Microsoft’s Windows Vista – July 26, 2006
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117 Comments

  1. Apple not ‘Macs’ are getting more viruses because to break into the big markets they are opening their machines to WINDOWS OS.

    How long before muppets on CNN start talking about windows viruses on Intel macs – and talk of this in terms of Mac OS.

  2. Apparently tech writers for CNN are Gartner Group drop-outs.

    And someone PLEASE explain to me how anyone makes money off writing viruses? Phishing scams yeah i can understand that but writing viruses?

    “Experts say these low numbers, and the unlikelihood that Apple’s share will ever account for much higher than the low double digits, is one reason why the Mac will remain relatively safe. These days, they say, viruses are written more for money than fame.”

    I think it’s exactly the opposite.

    And also, if the Mac market share gets to the low double digits, then that would basically be DOUBLE what it is now. I like the sound of that. Glad to know they got something right in the article.

  3. PLEASE SPAM CNN With your comments:

    See what happens when the mainstream media gets a hold of something and tries to report upon things which they do not understand? The virus originated on a typically porous Windows computer and was mistakenly placed up a very small batch (under 25 incidents reported) of iPods. It only negatively affects Windows computers, but, come on now, what doesn’t affect Windows computers negatively?

    http://www.cnn.com/feedback/dotcom/

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