Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

Summary: Apple is facing a problem. A large proportion of users believe that Mac is invulnerable to malware and that security software is unnecessary, despite Apple making it clear that it supports neither view.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple is sitting on a massive cash reserve totalling $65.8 billion. Enough cash for the company to be able to operate until 2018 even if it decided to stop selling everything. So, what should Apple do with this cash? Put it all on red? Move its HQ to the moon? Buy us all (and I do mean all of us ... everyone on the planet) a few beers? Or what peeling off a few bills and buy up a security firm and giving all Mac OS and iOS users access to free security tools?

See, Apple is facing a problem. A large proportion of users believe that Mac is invulnerable to malware and that security software is unnecessary, despite Apple making it clear that it supports neither view. Until now this hasn't been a problem because hackers and scammers have been too busy hammering Windows users. But that's changing, and criminal elements are now showing an interest in Mac OS X. Security über-journalist Brian Krebs has the details:

Crimekit makers have focused almost exclusively on the Windows platform, but today Danish IT security firm CSIS Security Group blogged about a new kit named the Weyland-Yutani BOT that is being marketed as the first of its kind to attack the Mac OS X platform.

The seller of this crimeware kit claims his product supports form-grabbing in Firefox and Chrome, and says he plans to develop a Linux version and one for the iPad in the months ahead.

There's no form-grabbing for Safari at present because 'too many problems in that browser' but you can bet money on the fact that it'll come.

Another type of emerging threat facing Mac user is one that's been plaguing Windows users for a while now - rogue security software.

Bottom line, malware is headed to Mac OS X, and most Mac users think that they're invulnerable to malware. That's a recipe for disaster. Sure, Apple could hope that its users have a modicum of common sense and practice safe computing habits, but back in the real-world we all know that people are idiots.  A well-distributed attack could leave tens of millions of Macs loaded to the brim with malware, and leave Apple with egg on its face.

Solution - Buy a security firm. There are a few to choose from. The cost to Apple would be chump change, but the good will generated from offering customers an Apple-branded solution (hopefully a free Apple-branded solution) would be huge. For those choosing not to have security software installed Apple could bundle an optional system scan in with each OS X update.

Why couldn't Apple just bundle security software with each Mac? Well, it could (I'm unsure as to whether this would attract regulatory scrutiny), but it would be too disruptive to the market. Just offering an Apple-branded security solution would be as good as pre-installing it on systems.

The storm's coming. Fortunately Apple has the cash to prevent this becoming a PR nightmare.

What do you think? Should Apple spend some of that cash on securing Mac OS so users don't have to?

Topic: Apple

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  • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

    muahahahahaha. Love it.
    bc3tech
  • There are more amusing uses for such a load of cash

    1) Give it all to me. Nice but unlikely
    2) Buy a small country. Again, nice but unlikely
    3) Buy zdnet, and close it down. Useful, but again unlikely
    4) Buy a brewery and create Apple beer. Has potential, as seen in the Redds brand.
    5) Point and laugh at those poorer than themselves. Amusing and probably true to some degree
    6) Spend a bit, maybe making kick in the bollocks server systems, maybe even a supercomputer. Fun, perhaps my ideal after the give it all to me and beer options
    7) Keep it all. Make it a huge mystery and see the rest of the world live in fear and awe. Probably the way they will go
    ego.sum.stig
    • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

      @ego.sum.stig@...

      #3 is a great idea
      thofts
      • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

        @thofts

        You can always just stop coming and pretend it's closed. There's really no *need* for you to come here in the first place, is there?
        rtk
    • Humor

      Something that is entirely outside the realm of some people's understanding.
      ego.sum.stig
  • Message has been deleted.

    GoPower
    • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

      @GoPower You are exactly the type the apple needs to protect. No one is saying dump aaple for windows. We are just saying that your malware free life is nearing it's end. I'm glad apple has worked well for, now wouldn't it be great if apple took some of it's cash and helped protect you from malware?
      In a sense you are more vunerable to malware than windows users, at least the ones who are fully patched, up to date with virus definitions. What do you think the value of 15 years worth of data is? For me it's much greater than the annual cost of virus subscriptions times 15.
      jhuddle
      • They haven't had to protect him for the last fifteen years.

        In other words, for fifteen years he and I have been computing WITHOUT the hassles of Windows. Despite (since OS X) annual predictions that THIS will be the year when OS X comes crashing down and all those Apple using fools will get caught with their pants down. And yet, each year, we continue to have a more hassle free computing experience.
        fr_gough
    • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

      @GoPower [i]"If the Mac OS or iOS become targets there will be solutions, and until then I've a lot less to worry about than my Windows plagued peers."[/i]

      You and I think alike.

      I believe that Apple spends just enough on security. Much less, and Macs would be "plagued". Spending much more would be irresponsible to the shareholders. If these new potential threats actually turn out to dangerous, then Apple should (and will) be judged on its response to actual infections. I think Apple cares enough about its 'malware-free' reputation (earned or not) that it will indeed spend the resources to keep OS X malware immune (relatively speaking).

      So until these "hypothetical" threats become "actual" ... I'm not losing any sleep. But I do read Mac news sites so that I will know if/when it's time to become wary. Until then.... I surf with carefree abandon (Bwahaha)...
      snberk341
      • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

        @snberk341 Except that they currently do nothing about security on their OS as there are many holes in their software. Windows is "battle hardened" from all the years of attacks. MacOS time to be attacked is just starting.
        Also Apple cares so little about their security that they don't even code their own OS. Its basically ripped from open source free license products and pasted together. Running OSX in debug mode shows you all the stuff they have stolen. They do the same with their desktops as they do with all their other products, steal technology/ideas make them pretty, sell at huge profits.
        Jimster480
    • A good use for the money would to repair your damaged brain

      @GoPower
      Come on, only someone 50 cards short of a full deck would think people actually care about the the drivel you post.

      Maybe Apple can shoot some money your way to cover your obvious mental issues.
      Bill Pharaoh
      • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

        @Bill Pharaoh are you kidding? Apple isn't going to part with their money.
        Jimster480
  • I agree. I'd quietly buy a firm and embed.....

    .....something like MSE into OSX. It can be installed silently with no visible footprint and Apple can say they're staying ahead of the curve when/if malware arrives.

    Seems prudent and I really don't see a downside. More useful than buying the world a beer or two.
    alsw
    • But think about .....

      @alsw

      the good (s)will that would create. ;-)
      Economister
    • My guess:

      @alsw

      They are working towards their own CPU designs across the board and will embed the security in the HW, not the OS.
      Economister
      • RE: Here's something Apple should spend some of that $65.8 billion cash reserve on

        @Economister They don't know anything about CPU development. Their "Apple CPUs" are just rebranded Samsung variants of ARM based CPU's.
        Jimster480
      • My guess

        @Economister

        That is what I think will get more people sucked into the bandwagon. Custom CPU for apple that does not run any software other than apple licensed. I am all for it.
        binuvarghese
    • can't do it

      @alsw if Microsoft tried something like that they would be hit so fast with an antitrust suit your head would spin. I would expect Apple would be subject to the samee
      stevejg61
      • Nope

        Microsoft got hit with an anti-trust for IE, Apple has never been hit with one for Safari on OSX.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Market share

        @ stevejg61

        Competition authorities only intervene if market share is high enough for a firm to be considered dominant. Usually this is about 30 per cent, but there's some variation by geography and industry.
        WilErz