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June 26, 2008

Mac can Learn from Vista Security

Filed under Computers


Apple fanboys believe their beloved Mac is impervious to viruses. The commercial above certainly seems to make that point.

I thought of this ad when I learned about a new exploit discovered this week for the Mac. It is a Trojan horse that can be bundled with a downloadable Mac application. The Trojan will install a keystroke logger and give someone remote access to your Mac.

The part that *really* caught my attention was the discussion of what Apple should do to protect its users from harmful software:


The author suggests 5 things that can be done to make the Mac more secure against these attacks...all 5 are already done in Vista.

Cupertino, start your photocopiers!

Just like to stir up the nest every once in a while. :)

Comments (11)

I'll stir things up even further...

Steve Jobs thinks western tech is cool and western medicine is crap. A loopy idea since both are rooted in the same scientific communities and methodology. (I don't see any tribes living in grass huts eating nuts and berries discovering ice on Mars, Stevie boy!)

Taking note that the fish rots from the head down, has anyone even once considered that the Apple culture's emphasis on flash and sparkle leaves it weak in areas that are considered by marketing to be mundane? They have taken the "herd immunization" mindset on viruses and the like, happy that PCs were the bulk of the market and therefore most viruses were aimed at PCs. So no need to worry about them. That's not the view of a visionary, that's the view of a carnie hawker getting as many marks into his tent before he tears down and moves on to the next village of suckers.

Fanboys, ignite your flamethrowers!

Russ Urquhart:

Hi Guys!


Good report! Glad to hear Vista has all those nice security goodies! I guess this is another reason copies of Vista are just flying off the shelves! (And why companies, big and small, are electing to stay with XP. Even Intel


I've never heard it attributed to Jobs that he thought "western medicine is crap". Seeing as how it was during one of his annual checkups that his pancreatic cancer was diagnosed and addressed by western medicine, I'd think otherwise.

As for your carnie hawker analogy, good eye. Apple is a fly by night operation, with slip-shod, products, that folds up their card table of goods after they made the sale! All those people that bought iPods/iMacs/iPhones, and continue to do so, are suckers and rubes, good eye! By God man don't let yourself become one of them!!

Stick to your Vista... until Windows 7 comes along!




There are actually two new Mac OS X trojans

Since Mac users think that viruses only happen on Windows (advertising video above displays the mentality), the Mac users probably don't have an anti-virus program running. For Pete's sake Mac users, I know you are former AOL users and you can't think on your own but at least install an anti-virus like Avast available here http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/networking_security/avastantivirusmacedition.html.

Speaking of Apple mentality....they sneak Safari in with the update of QuickTime which meets the definition of badware...


Apple = Smug alert!.

Video here.

Here is my embed attempt.


@ Russ

Way to show your fanboy ignorance. Just sit there and let Apple take care of everything for you…and remember…Macs can’t get viruses because that is what Apple advertising tells you. So please whatever you do, don’t install any anti-virus program because it is not needed.


The "OS was not being rolled out across the corporation, but said Vista will be brought to some departments". So Vista will be in the company but individually installed.

"I know of no organization doing an upgrade before [Service Pack 1]". Vista sp1 is not available yet in WSUS so therefore admins cannot push Vista sp1 across the company unless they have a 3rd party app that does it for them. Most companies wait to deploy any new app/os until the first service pack is released. The companies do not want to be early adaptors. This goes for any app/os.

So tell me Russ...when will we see Macs and OSX in the enterprise....oh snap...you won't because there is no central administrative app/console for admins. OSX and Safari aren't certified to work with the majority of business apps and websites. Enterprises have "no compelling case" to roll out Macs.

Russ Urquhart:

Hi Bubba,

I appreciate the 'fanboy' appellation, even though i'm sure it wasn't meant in a positive way, i prefer to think of myself as a mac user. (Up until 2000 I used pc's and work with them as well as Unix workstations exclusively. My choice was a move more away from MS rather than necessarily a choice of Apple, at that time. But that's another story.)

As, I hope Dave can attest, I have a technical background. I majored in Computer Science, and am currently a technical writer. That's how i met Dave at MPI. I have setup PC's, as well as Mac's from scratch, comfortable with swapping and changing hardware in those machines. On the PC i have written, compiled and executed applications. On the Mac, under OS X, i have downloaded, compiled and use several of my favorite Unix/Linux apps (Midnight Commander, Mutt, SNOBOLC, etc.)

With that little background about me, let me say that i like responding to the occasional jabs thrown toward the Mac side. I don't like to throw unsubstantiated jabs, hence my urls from whence they came, and Dave and i have always had our fun debates. (As possibly the only Mac user that reads Dave's blog, i don't mind feeling overwhelmed, but I acknowledge my meager backup in this category! :))

I really don't like rants or necessarily ranters. However if i understand your post Bubba, your saying:
1. That ALL mac users are ignorant fanboys.
2. That ALL mac users believe EVERYTHING Apple says
3. That All mac users believe that they are impervious to viruses
4. That Apple will NOT provide a fix to any viruses found, or any yet found
5. That i am one of those Mac Users.

If you truly believe these things, then there is really nothing i can say to change your mind, and i would go further, as i've said in other posts, if you believe these things then we Mac users have collectively made our own beds and it's just a matter of time till we have to sleep in them. And, therefore, you should count yourself lucky you aren't in the same boat we are!

My personal opinion is that the Mac is just as vulnerable as any other OS and necessary precautions should be taken. (The fact that most Mac users haven't experienced anything like what has happened on the Windows side doesn't mean it couldn't happen to them.)

In the article you mentioned, it said the of the two "New" trojans, one they were already familiar with, and the other was of a social engineering variety. IMO no OS is totally safe from a social engineering attack because its success depends solely on the human element. Once again for Mac users, just because you haven't been bitten doesn't mean you never will.

And lets see, what else did you slam me about, ok, the Vista not being deployed. (This was kind of a jab at Dave, btw) If you look at the source Time article,

The Intel insider makes the following quote:

The person, who has been briefed on the situation but requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of Intel’s relationship with Microsoft, said the company made its decision after a lengthy analysis by its internal technology staff of the costs and potential benefits of moving to Windows Vista, which has drawn fire from many customers as a buggy, bloated program that requires costly hardware upgrades to run smoothly.

“This isn’t a matter of dissing Microsoft, but Intel information technology staff just found no compelling case for adopting Vista,” the person said.

That was all i was trying to point out. Nothing more!

Lets see what else, ok, OS X in the enterprise. There was an interesting article in business week in May, it has a lot of info:


I won't rehash a lot of that, but, for myself, I don't see all of this as a zero-sum game and it's kind of tiring trying to shoe horn everything into that.

I think what will be interesting to see, enterprise wise, is after July 11, how more iPhones we see in an enterprise environment.




I'm David's cousin and a Mac user. I haven't chimed in on this debate because I'm way out of my element, but I wanted you to know that you're not alone here.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know where to find statistics on the number/frequency of viruses for OS X vs Windows?



Russ & Theresa

You as Mac users are confirming the point of David's post...that Apple Mac ads are misleading. For this specific ad, Apple is claiming that they don't get viruses while Windows does. The other point of David's post is that it is suggested that Mac use security more like Vista does.


It sounds like you are saying that the fact that Russ and I are Mac users proves that we believe that Macs can't get viruses. Am I reading that correctly? One of Russ' comments specifically states that he is fully aware of the possibility. I, too, know that it is possible. You just don't hear of it happening as often.

Russ Urquhart:


Thanks for your comments. Good to know i'm not the only mac user here.

As for the statistics, i think Secunia (secunia.com) keeps track of statistics of these things for a lot of different OS as well as applications, and i think they are kind of considered impartial!



Russ Urquhart:

Hi Bubba,

I had to look at the ad that David had posted, as i really didn't recall seeing it. On looking at, i remembered seeing it once, but not thinking too much about it.

As i stated in a previous post, i don't think ANY OS is immune from viruses. Again, I don't think ANY OS is immune.

With that said, and again running the risk of being labeled a fanboy, let me state that i interpreted the commercial as stating that viruses that affect PC's don't infect Macs. Just that, nothing more. This has been my experience with using my mac since i got it. As a virus can be tailored for specific underlying software characteristics of the pc, if those specifics are not on another OS, then that virus can NOT affect that OS.

I think it would be just as accurate to have a Linux guy there as well stating the same thing.

Now, again, am i saying a mac or Linux machine can NOT get a virus? No! Can a mac or Linux machine be affected by a virus designed for specific characteristics of a PC? Probably not!

Also, as i have said earlier, i tend to not take ads at face value. Ads want me to buy something. If i do, and am unhappy, i take the product back, if not i keep it.



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