Roger L. Kay: ‘Apple’s Icarus Effect’

“Just as those living in shiny houses of self-righteous glass often end up surrounded by shards of their former sanctimony, so Apple Inc. now finds itself the increasingly appealing target of software hackers,” Roger L. Kay opines for BusinessWeek.

“For years, Apple’s marketing has consisted of accentuating the positive and ignoring everything else. As hackers pillaged Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows operating system, Apple stressed that its computer platform was relatively virus-free, most notably in that snarky ad campaign, “I’m a PC. I’m a Mac.” There was Windows, groaning under the weight of its security apparatus, like some knight of yesteryear packed in heavy armor who, once he fell off his horse, couldn’t get up again. And on the other side, there was Apple strutting about, smacking its gloves together and posing for the crowd,” Kay writes.

“But now Apple is becoming a victim of its own success, and the irony is just too great to miss. Anyone with a mild sense of history is keeping track. The main reason Apple had been left alone by hackers was not by virtue of any superior security technology, the company’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Software is, after all, eminently hackable. Only sufficient motivation is required. And now that Apple’s platforms have become more popular, hackers are getting motivated,” Kay writes.

“Apple sold nearly 7.8 million Mac desktop and laptop computers in 2007. That’s a 37% gain over the number sold in 2006 and well more than double the 2001 volume,” Kay writes. “It’s little surprise then that reports of Mac viruses have been rising steadily.”

Full piece, Think Before You Click™, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to list here for the heads up.]

Reports of Mac viruses may have been rising steadily, but actual viruses have not. We’ll not even bother refuting, as Kay seems to be the last moron on earth who still believes in the Security Via Obscurity myth. If you really must have a refutation, just read our most recent Take on the myth from December 2007 here.

Keep in mind that as more and more people switch to Macs, they no longer need Windows Antivirus software. The AV peddlers are panicking as their customer base dries up by waking up. As their profits dwindle, some AV peddlers seem to be trying to convince Mac users that they need to buy and run processor-robbing AV protection for an OS that simply has seen zero self-propagating viruses in the wild.

Anyway, the last we slogged through the typical Roger L. Kay stupidity, back in January 2005, he was blathering about how he saw no evidence of the Apple iPod Halo Effect based, ridiculously, only on Apple’s desktop market share.

“Icarus Effect.” “Halo Effect.” The simpleton likes writing about “Effects,” it seems. To bad he doesn’t understand them at all.


  1. MDN, I’m not so sure about reports of Mac viruses rising. As far as I know, only 3 trojans and a bunch of security flaws have been reported. One guy tried to make a virus for OS X about 2 years ago and gave up. There was even a note within his code that said something like, “so much work and so little to show for it.”

    Maybe viruses (viri?) made in labs and shown to Apple?

  2. This article is so ridiculous. I’d guess that 90% of the comments absolutely clobber him. He shows absolutely no research for any of his conclusions.
    1. No real world virus accounts
    2. No cost comparisons between developing for iPhone vs. Symbian, WinCE & RIM
    3. And what the heck does hacking the iPhone have to do with anything related to viruses? If you want to buy a $400 iPhone and run over it with your lawnmower, I’m doubt Apple will really consider that a security threat.

  3. Every day, hit whores like Kay get more desperate for a new twist on old FUD just to meet a deadline.

    “Do Apple fans hate tech reporters?”

    Only the blatant, hit whoring FUDmeisters.

  4. Keep spewing the party line there fanbois, one day you will find yourselves at the cliff looking down going SOB I dont want to die. der Fuhrer Jobs loves your strict compliance in his made up universe.

  5. BuisinessWeek must have been threatening layoffs, so he typed up some flamebate to up his numbers.

    No need for facts, just typical news sensationalism.

    Just like the old song “Dirty Laundry”.

  6. “Reports of Mac viruses may have been rising steadily . . .”

    There are lots of reports for problems that don’t actually exist. That’s the power of spreading fear. Kay is a douchebag with near zero integrity or credibility as a writer or reporter. He’s an 8 out of 10 on the Enderlean Scale.

  7. @Crash,
    Ummm, not sure how me using a Mac will lead to me falling/jumping/being pushed off a cliff. I got your fuhrer comment but you lost me on the cliff thing.

    Writing a cogent sentence will go a long way in getting others to see your point.

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