Apple: Mac users should run multiple anti-virus

Apple: Mac users should run multiple anti-virus

Summary: One of Apple's better Mac vs PC ads features a strong message that Windows computers are a magnet for viruses (malware) but Macs are automatically protected.  As PC "ah-choos" his way through an infection, Mac offers a tissue and smugly infers that he's immune to the 114,000 Windows viruses.

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Mac users should run multiple anti-virus

One of Apple's better Mac vs PC ads features a strong message that Windows computers are a magnet for viruses (malware) but Macs are automatically protected.  As PC "ah-choos" his way through an infection, Mac offers a tissue and smugly infers that he's immune to the 114,000 Windows viruses.

Away from the television screen, Apple's technical advice is different.  Very different.   Check out this recently updated technical note on Apple's Web site:

  • 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.

[ SEE: How Snow Leopard can save Mac OS X from malware attacks ]

The note goes on to list several commercial anti-virus utilities (two are available for sale at Apple's online store!) and sends the correct message that no operating system is really safe from malicious software attacks.

We already know that it can be trivially easy to exploit unpatched Mac OS X vulnerabilities and, as Adam O'Donnell and others have theorized, it's only a matter of market share before Apple's operating system becomes a real target for malware writers.

Kudos to Apple for preparing its growing user base for the obvious reality.  Pity the marketing dollar is thrown at the wrong message. * Hat tip to Brian Krebs Image via Newlaunches.com.

Topics: Malware, Apple, Hardware, Security

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66 comments
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  • Why aren't they prosecuted?

    A number of countries have advertising and trade practices legislation. Why the hell isn't Apple called to account for this?
    tonymcs1
    • Well - they didn't really "lie"

      If advertisers told the whole truth nobody would buy their products and besides:

      1) who is going to hack into a machine that just does videos, songs and pictures;

      2) anyone with enough cash to afford a Mac can easily afford two virus programs.
      bcarpent1228
      • In my opinion

        The best exploits are the ones that target unsuspecting users on unknown bugs/flaws within an operating system.

        Until Mac has a higher market percentage, people aren't going to spend their time and effort on a system they won't see return on through their illegal activities.
        bladeoz
        • What kind of return?

          [i]Until Mac has a higher market percentage, people aren't going to spend their time and effort on a system they won't see return on through their illegal activities.[/i]

          Don't you think some people do this for the pure maliciousness of it?

          To believe it's strictly for $$ only feeds into the obscurity by numbers FUD
          hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • re: Return

            [i]Don't you think some people do this for the pure maliciousness of it?[/i]

            Sure some do... and to see how many people you can "get" with an attack, you'd go after what... the 90% group or the 10% group?

            I'd imagine there are a few who go after the 10% group to see "if they can", but with fewer attackers... you'd probably see less attacks.

            [i]To believe it's strictly for $$ only feeds into the obscurity by numbers FUD[/i]

            Strictly? No. The overwhelming majority, I'd guess yes. Then again, it's only a guess.
            Badgered
          • A guess?

            [i]Sure some do... and to see how many people you can "get" with an attack, you'd go after what... the 90% group or the 10% group?[/i]

            Both. 10% is still millions of computers.

            [i]I'd imagine there are a few who go after the 10% group to see "if they can", but with fewer attackers... you'd probably see less attacks.[/i]

            Or none at all beyond fear-mongering FUD.

            [i]Strictly? No. The overwhelming majority, I'd guess yes. Then again, it's only a guess.[/i]

            A guess? Not good enough...
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • Business Return

            You're right, attacking the 10% is a good idea, especially if you know you only have the OS to worry about. Especially if you know a good way in that no-one has protected yet.

            90% though, on a know OS is a much easier option though.
            bladeoz
          • FUD..? Hardly...

            Let's play a game... Undoubtably, you're familiar with the story of the 3 little pigs...

            Now then, you're the big bad blow hard wolf. You're hungry. You want pork chops for dinner. Which pig's house are you gonna go after first? Is it the brick house? No.. Too hard. You're gonna go after the easiest. When those pigs run out, you're gonna go after the next hardest house to crack. And you'll save the hardest one for last.

            Windows has been, until recently, fairly easy to exploit. Macs are a little bit tougher, but are NOT, by any stretch of the imagination immune from malware.

            Look at it on the bright side. The fact that even Apple is thinking there's a chance their OS can get infected means that things ARE looking up for OSX.

            If you recall, when Firefox was first released, it was touted as being completely safe and THE browser to use because IE was nothing more than swiss cheese. And then they got to 20% of the market... And suddenly, there were a LOT of exploits found that made the claim of Firefox's invulnerability to be just so much of a pipe dream.

            So the fact that malware writers are starting to concoct malware for the Mac, it just means the numbers are going up... Be happy...
            Wolfie2K3
          • It's not all business

            [i]You're right, attacking the 10% is a good idea, especially if you know you only have the OS to worry about. Especially if you know a good way in that no-one has protected yet.[/i]

            Then do it. Let's see that 10% massively attacked. You say it's for money? Well there should be enough 'profit' in 10%.

            I personally don't believe it's about money. I believe some people are just plain criminally malicious and would like nothing better than to disrupt the internet for their own twisted personal motives.

            Yes, Winbloze is easier to disrupt but that's as much (if not more) more by design than by numbers.

            10% is massive enough. Let's see it happen.
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • Need more than what-ifs or could-be's, Wolfie

            [i]Windows has been, until recently, fairly easy to exploit. Macs are a little bit tougher, but are NOT, by any stretch of the imagination immune from malware.[/i]

            Never said they were, but since the Mac doesn?t use things like Active X and shared binaries, the only exploits that they?ve managed so far is through Safari. And even those numbers are paltry.

            Linux and UNIX have long been preventively patched, but that?s mostly to keep it from passing along malware to Winbloze desktops. They?ve been a lot more proactive than reactive. If anything, that?s been Microshaft?s biggest problem in this regard. Waiting until the second Tuesday of each month? What a joke.

            [i]Look at it on the bright side. The fact that even Apple is thinking there's a chance their OS can get infected means that things ARE looking up for OSX. [/i]

            In principle, I agree. But thinking about it and doing it are two different things. Isolated incidents or incidents created in a testing lab aren?t enough. When I hear a story about Macs being massively pwned like I have with Winbloze, please let me know, k? Then I fully back the anti-virus anti-malware approach, regardless of what Apple now says should be done.

            [i]If you recall, when Firefox was first released, it was touted as being completely safe and THE browser to use because IE was nothing more than swiss cheese. And then they got to 20% of the market... And suddenly, there were a LOT of exploits found that made the claim of Firefox's invulnerability to be just so much of a pipe dream. [/i]

            Which by the way, they act on immediately. Many of their own testers out there actually find the exploits before the bad guys do. Now why can?t Microshaft do that?

            [i]So the fact that malware writers are starting to concoct malware for the Mac, it just means the numbers are going up... Be happy...[/i]

            The rate of infections tell all. Not the what-ifs or the could-be?s
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • Interesting

            A guess is not good enough for someone else to make...

            [i]I personally don't believe it's about money. I believe some people are just plain criminally malicious and would like nothing better than to disrupt the internet for their own twisted personal motives.[/i]

            Is your belief based on some evidence, or are you... guessing? <gasp!>

            You do know that stealing is a crime, so making a profit ranks high on the list of "twisted personal motives" of those "criminally malicious" people.
            tikigawd
          • You do know I was talking about viruses and not malware, correct?

            Or did you bother scrolling down to my next post from yesterday?
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • No I don't

            think it's just done as a malicious prank. There's a reason why malware is frequently referred to as crimeware. It's used to get credit card numbers, steal bank account numbers and passwords and to make your machine a part of a large Botnet.

            It hasn't been about pranks for a long time.

            The crimeware groups literally have Software Architects that design platforms for crimeware.
            notsofast
          • I'm talking about viruses, not malware

            And I don't see the monetary gain in creating those...
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
      • Just videos, songs and pictures??

        Are you really that naive?

        Because I use my Mac for spreadsheets, databases, CAD designs, word processing and shopping on the Internet.

        The few things you mentioned I rarely do.

        BTW...... I also have a 3GHz Dell which I sometimes use, but I depend on my Mac because it has proved to be more reliable for my needs.
        23Tracy
    • Why are you people so uppitty at twisting everything?

      They never said they couldn't get viruses, they said that they
      aren't affected by the hundreds of thousands of Windows
      viruses.
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • re: Why are you

        [i]They never said they couldn't get viruses, they said that they aren't affected by the hundreds of thousands of Windows viruses.[/i]

        While they were mentioning to all their potential consumers that "they aren't affected by the hundreds of thousands of Windows viruses", did they happen to mention that they are vulnerable? No... I don't remember that part of the ad. Is that perhaps to give the impression that they are not? And it must be working too... I know at least one Mac user who believes they are not vulnerable in any way. "Twisting everything" indeed.
        Badgered
        • I think you are little too touchy

          You feel offended by the portrayal of PC in the I'm a PC, I'm a Mac ad feeling it is a portrayal of Windows users themselves and not the computer business industry itself, are you not?

          Maybe you try to read way too much into things?

          I've known of at least one Mac user that thought they were invulnerable to viruses too, but it was before these ads even ran.

          Having a nice talk with that person set them straight though.
          Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
          • Hmm....

            [i]You feel offended by the portrayal of PC in the I'm a PC, I'm a Mac ad feeling it is a portrayal of Windows users themselves and not the computer business industry itself, are you not?[/i]

            Actually, I like the portrayal of the PC in the I'm a PC/I'm a Mac ad's. They're funny (though not always accurate) skits to get Apple's point across.

            [i]Maybe you try to read way too much into things?[/i]

            Could be... then again, you could be ignoring what's right in front of you?
            Badgered
        • Greater fool

          I was in a thread at a British boating group. The sMACk addicts had entry after entry on how they would never, ever, ever have any reason whatsoever to run any kind of virus/trojan protection. That is why they bought sMACk.

          Apple's advertising has bought them a lot of greater fool customers.
          mswift1