iTWire’s Zaharov-Reutt lectures Mac OS X users on security

“…My own ‘Virus scare a lesson for Apple’ article on ITWire… dared to question the myth of total Mac invulnerability to viruses and spyware, and tried to gently remind Apple users that owning a Mac does not bestow a shield of invincibility around its owner, no matter how much you believe it to be true,” Alex Zaharov-Reutt writes for iTWire.

“For this, I was slammed by self-righteous Mac owners around the world. How dare I question the Mac OS? What qualifications did I have? I should be barred from ever writing articles about the Mac ever again… and so on, and so forth. If anyone ever thought the PC vs Mac battles had ever subsided, here was direct proof that nothing had changed in years. John Dvorak knows how I feel…,” Zaharov-Reutt writes.

According to Zaharov-Reutt, he’s “owned dozens of computers, used all the major operating systems, fixed innumerable problems for people on a range of computing platforms, and have helped a lot of Mac owners especially in the past three or so years.” Zaharov-Reutt explains, “In that time, I have helped to fix precisely zero viruses or malware outbreaks on a Mac system, but after experiencing issues with software or just trying to make things worked, I quickly realised the warm glow that Mac OS X was giving me was just showing me that problems exist on a Mac…”

Zaharov-Reutt “wholeheartedly recommends” installing anti-virus software on your Macs,”so you stop being the carrier for Windows viruses and other malware that can pass through your system – be it emails, Word documents, Powerpoint or other infected files. Macs may be invulnerable to these Windows vulnerabilities, but if you’re passing on the problem, instead of being part of the solution, you’re hardly helping.”

Zaharov-Reutt says he’s “soon to buy a Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro (basically, as soon as they are released)” because he wants the “ability to run multiple operating systems at the same time.”

Zaharov-Reutt writes, “Will I enjoy having a relatively safer experience when using the Mac side of things? Of course. But I’ll be investing in Sophos or Norton Internet Security for my Mac, as well as investigating what other alternatives are out there. I certainly won’t just blindly accept that Apple knows best and has everything sorted out for me.”

In his experiences and those about which he’s read, “what usually takes out a Mac is a hardware failure,” writes Zaharov-Reutt. “Stories of multiple items of hardware failing within a computer or notebook over a year long period have been recounted to me by Apple customers, and I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes on friend’s computers. Three or four week waiting times then ensued. What does one do when one’s home or business computer is taken away for repairs? Each time, the wait and delay proved traumatic.”

“I happily acknowledge that it is well known for being more secure that Microsoft’s different versions of Windows,” Zaharov-Reutt writes. “Where a Windows PC can find a virus installing itself without permission, Mac users must authorise the installation of any new program with their password. Simple security measures like this one have helped to make the difference, and Microsoft has taken note – Windows Vista is coming with similar functionality, although in typical Microsoft style, theirs lacks the simplicity and unobtrusiveness of the Apple model.”

Zaharov-Reutt writes, “But let’s put aside Mac OS X’s inherent security advantages for a moment. If the Mac OS was totally 100% secure from all hack attacks and malicious software that you could be tricked into installing onto your computer, you wouldn’t see security patches and updates through the Mac’s own software updating system, or every time there is a new version of OS X.”

“I also find it curious, oh Mac zealots, to discover that a search for “Mac OS X viruses” on Google brings up any results at all. According to thrust of some responses to the original article, I shouldn’t have been able to find anything. But for some unusual reason there are results, perhaps there are viruses out there after all. Or maybe it’s just a conspiracy by Windows users out to get Apple,” Zaharov-Reutt writes.

Zaharov-Reutt waxes on about the “Leap-A” and quotes various AV software companies’ mouthpieces (Symantec, Spohos) who are responsible for trying to gin up business by spreading FUD. They told him what he wanted to hear, of course. “…You just can’t afford to be complacent about security,” Zaharov-Reutt lectures. Because “viruses exist on the Mac! This cannot be denied,” Zaharov-Reutt writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Zaharov-Reutt’s original article didn’t “dare to question the myth of total Mac invulnerability to viruses and spyware.” His original premise was that “a Windows virus on a small batch of iPods that originated from an iPod subcontractor’s infected Windows PC, was a ‘massive wake-up call’ for Apple and Mac users.” Zaharov-Reutt is trying and failing to deflect the issue. He also comes across loud and clear as a world class A-hole. At least he excels at something.

John Dvorak knows precisely how Zaharov-Reutt feels because both are trolls who bait Mac users for hits to their articles.

Mac users don’t need lectures from pompous ignoramuses. We understand that if we download and install and authorize and run a program from an untrusted source, it could cause problems. We’re not stupid. Zaharov-Reutt’s pretending that his purpose is to educate Mac users that they’re not invincible is disingenuous.

If you wish to follow Zaharov-Reutt’s advice to install A/V software on your Mac, by all means do so. If you feel spending money for, donating processor cycles to, and risking potential issues because of A/V software for your Mac is worth it to protect Windows sufferers from Microsoft’s porous OS, then go for it. We know why Zaharov-Reutt is waiting for the MacBook Core 2 Duo: he wants to spend processor cycles and his money to run A/V software to protect Windows suffers from their insecure OS mistake. We’d rather use those processor cycles and spend the money on software that actually accomplishes things of value.

Zaharov-Reutt can find “Mac viruses” by doing a Google search. We can also find photos of space aliens, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and “Mac virus” articles penned by bozos like Zaharov-Reutt via a Google search, too.

Although he fails to mention it, Zaharov-Reutt’s Google search for “Mac OS X viruses” also turns up a CNET article which states that Apple and outside analysts said the program, referred to as Leap-A, is not a “virus,” per se. Rather, it “requires a user to download the application and execute the resulting file.” He would also have found our advice about Leap-A, “Do not download ‘latestpics.tgz’ and then uncompress it and then run it by giving Mac OS X your Admin password at the prompt. Also, do not drag files that you wish to keep on your hard drives to the Trash and then empty it. Only accept files from vendors and Web sites that you know and trust.”

Viruses do not exist on the Mac OS X platform. Don’t believe us? Then read what Todd Woodward, Security Response Researcher, from Zaharov-Reutt’s beloved Symantec, said this past July:

“I would like to discuss some important issues regarding Mac OS X and security. Let’s start with the hot-button issue of Mac OS X viruses. Simply put, at the time of writing this article, there are no file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X. I see some of you raising a hand or two, wanting to ask me some ‘but, what about…’ types of questions. Indeed, in February of this year, when OSX.Leap.A was discovered the news headlines declared that it was the ‘First ever first ever virus for Mac OS X!’ Long before the digital ink dried on those simplistic and sensational headlines our Security Response team had determined that OSX.Leap.A was a worm, and not a file-infecting virus. Our Security Response Web site explains the differences between viruses and worms. Basically, viruses are designed to infect files within a single computer, while worms are designed to spread from one computer to another.”

And, from Zaharov-Reutt’s equally-beloved Sophos Security, also from July:

“The vast majority of malware continues to be written for Windows, and while the first malware for Mac OS X was seen in February 2006, it has not spread in the wild and not heralded an avalanche of malicious code aimed at Macs… Hackers seem happy to primarily target Windows users and not spread their wings to other platforms. It seems likely that Macs will continue to be the safer place for computer users for some time to come – something that home users may wish to consider if they’re deliberating about the next computer they should purchase.”

Apple’s Mac OS X is infinitely more secure than Microsoft’s Windows.

Contact info:
editor@itwire.com.au

Related MacDailyNews articles:
iTWire: Apple iPods infected with Windows virus should be massive wake-up call for Mac users – October 18, 2006
Symantec researcher: At this time, there are no file-infecting viruses that can infect Mac OS X – July 13, 2006
Sophos: Apple Mac OS X’s security record unscathed; Windows Vista malware just a matter of time – July 07, 2006
Sophos Security: Dump Windows, Get a Mac – July 05, 2006
Sophos anti-virus software mistakes real files for pests, breaks Mac OS X systems – February 22, 2006
Apple: ‘Leap-A’ not a virus; only accept files from vendors and Web sites that you know and trust – February 16, 2006
‘Highly critical’ flaw in discovered in Symantec AntiVirus for Mac OS X – December 21, 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

Apple again leads Consumer Reports’ survey for notebook, desktop computer tech support, value, more – October 16, 2006
Apple Mac desktops, notebooks top PC Magazine’s Annual Reader Satisfaction survey – again – August 22, 2006
Apple far outscores all other PC makers in Consumer Reports Computer Tech Support Survey – May 05, 2006
Apple Mac desktops, portables top PC Magazine’s 2005 Reader Satisfaction survey – August 24, 2005
Apple Computer products top PC Magazine’s annual ‘Best of the Year’ survey – December 16, 2004
Apple Macs top PC Magazine’s ’17th Annual Reader Satisfaction Survey’ – August 10, 2004
Apple leads PC Magazine’s 16th annual Service and Reliability Survey – July 10, 2003

35 Comments

  1. “…infinitely more secure that Microsoft’s Windows.”

    Hmmm… is that a step away from the bolder: Mac has no malware vulnerability, no viruses, no spyware, etc., etc.

    Methinks so. As in all other things these days, Apple is becoming like the others as it moves daily toward being average.

    Only a matter of time – probably a short time – when sellers of protective software will enjoy an explosion of demand from Mac users.

  2. Anybody tested how long an unprotected Vista PC lasts on the net in use without getting infected? XP SP 2 with all the patches lasts a very short time (>1/2 hour). I know people who have Macs without AV software that have never been infected going back to the Beta version of OS X.

  3. i understand all these people saying be safe not sorry, but even if a virus did emerge, norton etc wouldnt protect you because it would be a brand new virus, plus im sure we would REALLY hear about it in the press and therefore probably be able to avoid it so ill stay without a/v and just use common sence

  4. “For this, I was slammed by self-righteous Mac owners around the world. How dare I question the Mac OS? What qualifications did I have? I should be barred from ever writing articles about the Mac ever again… and so on, and so forth. If anyone ever thought the PC vs Mac battles had ever subsided, here was direct proof that nothing had changed in years. John Dvorak knows how I feel…,” Zaharov-Reutt writes.

    You write stupid crap, you prove that you are clueless by writing stupid crap, you inflame the PC vs Mac battle by writing stupid crap, and you get in bed with Dvorak, you are stupid.

    We may be self-righteous, but we know what we are talking about.

  5. Can’t you hear the bitterness in his writing?

    He’s used OS X, but he hasn’t had the religious experience yet. He’s still clinging to windows and unable to fully accept the the Mac OS. He doesn’t want to make the full commitment. He’s in Limbo and angry that it’s not as good for him as it seems to be for the rest of the Mac population.

  6. “I also find it curious, oh Mac zealots, to discover that a search for “Mac OS X viruses” on Google brings up any results at all. According to thrust of some responses to the original article, I shouldn’t have been able to find anything. But for some unusual reason there are results, perhaps there are viruses out there after all.”

    Idiot. A Google search will bring up mere mentions of the query terms, so today it will include this page, and the original article it links to, and a whole slew of people writing that there aren’t any Mac OSX viruses. Damn, I just mentioned Mac OSX viruses, so they must exist! Damn, I just did it again, so there must be more!!

    What a wanker…

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