FOXNews blows it: Incorrectly reports that Apple encourages multiple antivirus utilities for Mac

In a “Tech Q and A” published today, FOXNews’ Guy R. Briggs blows it:

Q: You mentioned that Conficker does not attack Macs. [Are] there any viruses, malware or other security threats I need to worry about for my Mac PC ? Should I install security software?

A: Funny you should ask! ran a story just last week… According to the cited source, it is the “first Macintosh-specific worm to be found ‘in the wild’ on the Internet,” although, technically, it’s a trojan, not a worm.

MacDailyNews Take: That other story (actually a reprint from The Post Chronicle’sIBotnet Virus: Apple’s First Worm“), was headlined “Mac-Specific Virus Threat Hits Cyberspace.” Too bad it wasn’t a virus. Or a worm. Now, back to this week’s mess: The difference between a trojan and a worm is wider than the gulf between FOXNews’ and MSNBC’s ratings. It warrants a bit more explanation than the brief “although, technically, it’s a trojan, not a worm” statement. A worm can self-replicate without user interaction. This trojan for Mac is like every other trojan for Mac OS X – it requires the user to authorize its installation. Without the user’s permission, it does nothing; quite unlike Windows’ Conficker, which does whatever it wants, without the users even knowing, on unpatched Windows PCs.

Briggs continues: It’s called iBotnet, and you get infected by running a pirated copy of iWork, Apple’s office productivity suite, that contains the malicious code.

Should you install security software? If you’re the type who wears both belt and suspenders to make sure his pants stay up, you should.

MacDailyNews Take: No, you should not, regardless of how irrationally cautious you may be. Not if you use a Mac.

Briggs continues: Most of the major security vendors offer Macintosh-specific versions of their products and they will protect you against malware, however infrequent it may appear.

MacDailyNews Take: What kind of “malware,” Bill? (He doesn’t know; we just like to taunt the mainstream “tech” hacks.)

Briggs continues: A note on the Apple support site posted Nov. 21, 2008 reads, “Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult.”

The Apple site suggests Intego VirusBarrier X5, Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh — both available from the Apple Online Store — or McAfee VirusScan for Mac.

If you’re a software pirate, you should definitely get one of the above, and get it installed as soon as possible.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s support page, “Mac OS: Antivirus utilities,” that the company originally published in June 2007 and inexplicably updated with new versions of mentioned antivirus apps on November 21 2008 was pulled on December 03, 2008. Neither of the original nor the updated KnowledgeBase articles mentioned “Mac OS X.” They both stated simply “Mac OS.” In other words, they were old articles that did not apply to Mac OS X. “We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate,” Apple spokesman Bill Evans, told Macworld. “The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box.” Full article: Apple pulls ‘old and inaccurate’ antivirus support article; says ‘Macs are secure right out of box’ – December 03, 2008

Here’s a hint Mr. Briggs: Check the support article you are referencing before you publish your “answer,” it’ll save us all a lot of time.

FOXNews’ full article – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: How many centuries will it take for “tech reporters” to learn the differences between viruses, worms, and trojans, to not use the terms indiscriminately and interchangeably, and/or to execute the most basic research before publishing? Let’s all ask FOXNews:

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Michael B.” for the heads up.]

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