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McAfee Feigns Fear at Mac Security

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the raising-the-terror-level dept.

403

conq writes "BusinessWeek reports that McAfee has just come out with a report which asks the question 'Is Mac OS X the Next Windows?'." They appear to be attempting to scare consumers into buying anti-virus software for OSX. Blogger Arik Hesseldahl breaks down their claims: "First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer, and by and large are a bit more affluent than those who buy cheapo commodity Windows PCs ... When you take into account the ongoing growth in general PC ownership, even if Apple pushes its annual unit sales to 12 million or more by 2010, its share of the overall market will still account for about 4%, leaving Windows the far more tasty target."

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I disagree (-1, Flamebait)

drwtsn32 (674346) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269947)

Mac users by and large have become complacent when it comes to basic security principles. They are even more at risk of infecting their machine when viruses and other threats start to spread on the Mac platform.

Re:I disagree (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270089)

As long as they turn off the administrator account and back up their personal files it doesn't matter. It is incredibly hard to write a Mac virus that does anything malicious, especially to the system. The easiest thing a virus could do (and it would not be easy at all) would be to mess up a user account and delete personal files Mac users are also not the cutsey dumbasses you see in Apple commercials. For the most part they educated and know their way around their computer. Most would know something wrong is happening if the administration security prompt pops up asking for their password. The ones that don't know wouldn't even know how to access and turn on their administration account.

And forget about the old market share argument explaining why Macs don't get malicious viruses. Don't you think there would be some prestige for any writer who could create the first malicious Mac virus? Especially with Apple and others touting it's security for years? How come it hasn't happened yet?

Re:I disagree (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270207)

who the fuck decides to mod the first post redundant?
the OP is not redundant, and most certainly is presenting a different pt of view from TFA.

not only that, but I agree with him. mac users are no more savvy than PC users. my brother in law, mother in law, another friend, and a couple of coworkers have all purchased macs recently. all of them are extremely happy with them, yet not a single one of them knows what a file extension, terminal, or root is. they just use their macs for office, web, digital pics, and music, without having to worry about adminning the machine.

so in which way are they now more savvy than before, while they were using PCs?

Re:I disagree (3, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270218)

Please, stop with the FUD already. Most mac users keep up to date with news on mac security issues on mac news sites.

As a cross-platform user I'm tired of these popular memes on slashdot. Do you think all those affluent mac users work in creative areas? A number of us work in IT developing and/or supporting software on the windows platform but prefer macs at home.

Let me try to get this through your thick head. OS X has a completely different security model from windows. It is based on a BSD and System V. You will find both open source and closed source unix components on OS X.

There is always a risk of some virus appearing and wiping out your personal data or some catastrophic hardware failure and because of this, you should backup often. It would require a great deal of user interaction to compromise the entire machine as nobody runs as root unlike XP.

arg apple sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15269950)

apple users know more about technology? give me a break.

Re:arg apple sucks (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270069)

Yes in general they do.

Because most people before they buy their first Mac they do some research to decide if they want or not. Because there is in inherant risk to buying a Mac (The Higher then average cost and the fact that Windows Apps will not run (excluding bootcamp/virtualiztion etc...) on the Mac. So before buying most people are causious and do a fair amount of research before they decide if they really want one.

Vs. the standard PC user will get what ever is cheapest or blindly get the best specs that they know what it means, usually leading to unbalanced archecture. "Wow I got a P4 3ghz system that must be way faster then your CoreDuo 2.16ghz system."

Re:arg apple sucks (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270138)

i'd say it depends.

most mac users and fans i know, actually love mac for the fact that you _don't_ have to know 101 tricks how to keep your machine working and you don't have to perform them either. they don't have a clue what's under the hood, they don't care, they just want it to work. with windows such an approach would be pretty fatal, with mac, it's possible.

but different slashdotters seem to know different mac people. there is no golden truth here.

i'd choose a mac any time over a windows box. but because it works, but because it's designed to work unlike a lot of regular x86 boxes that have problems right off at the start (disable this and that to make it even boot, arrr).

i'd still run linux on it if the mac hardware works with it

Re:arg apple sucks (1)

Dracen (973030) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270179)

You know as well as I do, people buy mac because they think they are pretty, and have had a bad experience with a pc that they did not have the knowledge to fix.

Re:arg apple sucks (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270237)

My first response to the blurb as well, I'm afraid. On the whole Apple markets to those people, rather successfully, who do not want to know about technology and desire that their computers "just work."

Graphic artists, writers, sound engineers, the so called "creative" people.

Perhaps it is true that Apple users, prodded by the marketing of the company, like to think they are on, and understand, the cutting edge of technology, but thinking you understand and understanding are two very different things.

I have some passing understanding of computer technology at a low level. I've built computers by hand wiring vacuum tubes (whose functioning I also understand) into bistable multivibrators (two tubes per bit). All of my PCs in regular use were assembled by me from parts, some of which were custom made by myself (data acqiusition stuff mostly).

But I'm currently building a PC based sound recording studio and I expect I'll get an Apple.

Why? Because I don't give a damn about understanding the technology involved, and, for the most part. . .don't. I have a specialized job for the machine to do. I want to just buy it, plug it in, turn it on and have it work.

In this limited case I have turned into the perfect Apple customer. I have money and don't know, don't care about the damned "technology." I just want to get my work done.

As a music geek, not a computer geek.

KFG

FUD or Valid Argument? (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269951)

First off, read the original McAfee Report [nai.com] before you bash them as FUD spreading capitalists.

Why that wasn't included in the posted story, I'll never know. If you actually take a look at the PDF, it's got some good histograms and charts as well as a little more detail into the Leap virus.

Yes, it does follow from this that users should buy McAfee anti-virus for Macs. The simple fact of the matter is that this is a white paper that tilts in their favor. It has some valid points, though, and I don't think they need to tell people to be afraid. If Mac users start getting these viruses then they will truly need anti-virus software for their machines. They site the National Vulnerability Database and other sources in this document so it's not like they're making stuff up or are the only ones claiming there is an upcoming security risk.

I hate McAfee software. Like most anti-virus software, it uses too much memory and hogs the CPU if it's a real-time checker. I wouldn't opt for it if it was the last anti-virus company in existence. However after reading their white paper, it is convincing. I do think that if Apple doesn't take an initiative to protect their users from things like Leap then Mac users will need auxiliary anti-virus protection from a third party.

One man's FUD is another man's common sense. I don't care about the size or manufacturer of a device--if it runs programs in a turing-machine like manner, it can be infected.

Re:FUD or Valid Argument? (5, Insightful)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270060)

I'm sorry, but McAfee putting out a security report is like Exxon putting out an environmental assessment for Alaskan drilling. Slight conflict of interest there. It doesn't matter who they quote. They simply cannot be trusted because making a profit will always be their number one priority.

Re:FUD or Valid Argument? (-1, Flamebait)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270192)

Forgive me, but I find this funny because of how often Apple press releases get repeated here and I never see this sentiment expressed.

Apple is in business to make money. They *want* larger than 4% of the market share. They *want* Joe Consumer to buy a slightly-more-expensive Mac Mini instead of a $500 HP because that means more cash for them to roll in. In other words, Apple's mission is to dilute the technical abilities of their user base and turn it into a pool of Windows users.

Windows is insecure because people don't bother to learn how to make it secure. I know quite a few people who have had XP since its release and never picked up anything worse than a piece of spyware that was packaged with a program they downloaded...which could happen to a Mac just as easily.

If Apple gets what they want, they'll have a large, uneducated userbase just like Microsoft has. They'll have people creating security holes by clicking stuff they shouldn't. They'll have people accepting installations when they don't know what they're doing. They'll have enough users that the botnets will want to tap into the Mac market, and enough stupidity to let them do it.

Re:FUD or Valid Argument? (3, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270254)

Hmm... I'm sympathetic to your position, but not your reasoning. Except for the occasional trust funder, just about everyone here is selling their services in exchange for cash. If you leave one job for another, higher paying job, are you profit motivated, and thus no longer to be trusted?

I suspect that rather than their motivation to make a profit, it is really the years of strangely incongruous (for a security company) and untrustworthy behavior like pioneering the pop-up browser advertisements and so forth that have caused you to trust not McAfee.

Virus probably less of a burden than MacAffee (5, Interesting)

addie macgruer (705252) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270066)

They have produced some good-looking graphs; however, the number of viruses observed (about 2 per year for the last decade) means that the substantial upturn could be little more than statistical noise.

I think it speaks for itself that, according to that PDF, the macintoshes with 1/50th of the market share have 1/1315th of the number of identified viruses, somewhat disproportionate to their decreased market share.

Have got MacAffee antivirus installed as corporate policy on my business peesee, and it humbles what is otherwise a fairly able laptop. Perhaps Apple's move to a more powerful architecture means that they can now shoulder the MacAffee burden too?

Re:FUD or Valid Argument? (4, Informative)

MathFox (686808) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270068)

I just copy and paste the Key Findings:
  1. From 2003 to 2005, the annual rate of vulnerability discovery on Apple's Mac O S platform has increased by 228 percent (Figure 2), compared to Microsoft's produ cts which only saw a 73 percent increase.
  2. As demonstrated by its March 2006 patch, which corrected 20 vulnerabilities, Apple's Mac OS platform is just as vulnera ble to targeted malware attacks as other operating systems (Page 6).
  3. Security researchers and hackers will increasingly target the Mac OS and other Apple products, such as iTunes and iPods (Page 6).
If you don't read much further, Apple is doing bad... If you compare the absolute numbers of exploits Apple trails a factor 1000 by Microsoft. It will take some time until Apple reaches par with Windows (if ever), even if all malware programmers dropped their Windows work ans started concentrating on OSX instead.

Reporter with an agenda? (1, Troll)

metasecure (946666) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269954)

Something tells me the reporter has a hidden agendy against McAfee. McAfee isn't trying to "scare you enough to consider buying its anti-virus software for the Mac", they're trying to point out that anti-virus software, McAfee's or otherwise, for the Mac is an important and vital piece of protection against the malware of the Internet.

Re:Reporter with an agenda? (3, Insightful)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270035)

Bullshit. McAfee and Symantec have been engaging in a mis-information campaign against Mac security for the past year trying to get people to buy their junky wares. Is the Mac 100% impenetrable? No, but given that OS X has now been around for 5 years or so and no script kiddie has been able to create ANYTHING remotely close to dangerous (yeah, there are a few small, barely threatening programs), then why all of a sudden are certain people with a VESTED interest in selling AV software trying to scare Mac users into spending money unnecessarily? Let's just stop saying "Oh, when OSX is more popular then it will be a popular target." That argument is CRAP. What bigger ego booster could you get if you created a successfully propogating worm or spyware app for Mac OS X, a supposedly supreme Fort Knox of operatin system?

I'm a long-time Mac admin and user. I don't have AV software on my home machine and as of now have no plans to either. I think Symantec, McAfee, Gartner and a few others are teh ones who have a hidden agenda.

All to pr0n you need: http://excaliburfilms.com/partner/mainaffiliate.cf m?ID=1765 [excaliburfilms.com]

Re:Reporter with an agenda? (3, Insightful)

porneL (674499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270177)

Saying that anti-virus is vital piece of protection on platform that hasn't yet seen any serious viruses IS spreading FUD.

Re:Reporter with an agenda? (1)

metasecure (946666) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270227)

I'm sorry, but I believe in a proactive rather than reactive security policy. But you go ahead, keep running your machine without protection until AFTER you get a virus.

Mac a tasty target? (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269956)

If the users are "more affluent," wouldn't they be bigger targets? You'd get a bigger payoff with fewer attacks if you're stealing personal information, credit card info, etc.

Of course in the case of zombie machines and spam, you'd go with the easier target.

Wtf? (5, Funny)

gravyface (592485) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270000)

"First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer..."
Are self-selected?
"Self. Your technical savviness has not gone unnoticed. You've been selected. Congratulations."

I'm self-selected (1)

ThatsNotFunny (775189) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270153)

In fact I select myself a few times a week. Unfortunately, I'm now going blind and there is hair growing on my palms...

Tend to know more? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15269966)

"because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer"

I think that's debatable, since the popular saying goes "People that don't know how to use a computer buy an Apple"...

Re:Tend to know more? (1)

Oldsmobile (930596) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269999)

I wonder if there is actual research to back up this claim?

I for one would recommend OSX for people who are not so computer savvy and who don't have alot of experience with any operating system.

Windows on the other hand is more suitable for people who have used Windows for years and don't want to relearn things.

Re:Tend to know more? (1)

benbean (8595) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270095)

No, why on earth would you recommend a Unix-based OS with an out-of-the-box C/C++ development environment, several free scripting languages and the OSS world's finest general purpose tools to the technically unsavvy.

Windows with its superb Notepad and awe inspiring Calculator is definitely the way to go.

Re:Tend to know more? (1)

benbean (8595) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270118)

s/unsavvy/savvy. Damn. My point was going to be so much better before I screwed it up.

Re:Tend to know more? (2, Interesting)

portwojc (201398) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270027)

They know more about the technology they are buying because they only, for the most part, buy Mac products.

I'm not so sure... (2, Insightful)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269974)

I'm not so sure after seeing the new Apple commercials saying how PCs have all of these Viruses; however, Macs are not susceptible to them. This could get more people to purchase Macs and while it might not be as large a target, if the majority of the community isn't being cautious it could be seen as an easy target. You will see outbreaks of Mac viruses. It's only a matter of time. As for Mac purchasers being more computer savy. I don't really consider the majority of the artsy, yuppies that are the majority of the Mac audiance to be over savy.

warning: grammar and spelling ogre (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270203)

As for Mac purchasers being more computer savy. I don't really consider the majority of the artsy, yuppies that are the majority of the Mac audiance to be over savy.

You're probably right and I personally share your opinion, but you'd lend more weight to our position by using complete sentences and non-random punction, and by spelling 'savvy' correctly...

Must be different Apple users (1, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269975)

self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer

I don't know a single person who I would call knowledgeable about IT who has a Mac. All the Mac users I know (roughtly a dozen) know, and care, nothing about IT. That's pretty well why they wanted a Mac in the first place.

TWW

Re:Must be different Apple users (2, Insightful)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270032)

Yeah i'm not sure where that comes from. From my (limited) poll of friend with Mac, they tend to be artists or the artistic type, not technological inclined people.

If course they say "average PC buyer". I guess if you add the sum of all PC buyer tech knowledge and make an average... But thats like saying that 90% of all Mac user who drive have a Volkswagen. It seems true (it really does) but its not.

Re:Must be different Apple users (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270137)

A lot of this comes from way back in the 80's when Mac was the only personal computer to offer high end software for digital photo manipulation and print publishing. Also, Mac was very big in MIDI interfaces for musicians to record digital music.

I have one friend who does a lot of graphic design work who owns a Mac. She loves it and will never change. Still though, she doesn't know anything beyond using the software to do what she needs. I have another friend who also owns a Mac. She is pretty clueless about computers in general and she doesn't even know why she owns a Mac instead of a PC. So, I'm going to have to agree that the majority of Mac owners just don't think in terms of computer security, networking, etc.

Re:Must be different Apple users (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270059)

That's because you don't know me . I program for a living (a very nice living, BTW) and my clients include many US Fortune 100 companies. All done from a Mac using a variety of technologies.

Re:Must be different Apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270115)

You, a slashdot poster, consider yourself an average Mac owner?

Give me a break.

Re:Must be different Apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270158)

No, you don't program for a living.

You most certainly don't do custom code for fortune 100 companies, and I am also sure you don't own a Mac.

In fact, I would bet that you are probably a 20 year old, overweight college student struggling to pass calc, and wondering what math has to do with computers and why you need to take calc and physics to get your CS degree.

When you graduate you will not find work, you will most likely run back to you mother (and father if he hasn't left her yet) and live at home before getting a low paying job doing basic IT shit like telephone tech support for a gay porn website.

Best of luck to you, you are the average slashdot user.

Re:Must be different Apple users (1)

zolaris (963926) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270202)

I'll preface this with the statement "I'm not bashing you at all, I am acutally curious". I have programmed in college on OSX and Solaris. All of our projects HAD to compile on Solaris (course requirement). I wrote this C router in Darwin and then tried to take the code and compile it on the Solaris box and some of Darwin's warnings became Solaris's errors. I am not a good programmer. I tend to know "just enough to be dangerous" but have you ever run into that doing all your programming on a Mac rather than on a different Unix box? Or are all of your clients using OSX so something like that doesn't become an issue?

Re:Must be different Apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270072)

One Mac user I encountered insisted a piece of hardware was not functioning correctly because a BNC-BNC cable was "wrong way round".

Re:Must be different Apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270181)

I don't know a single person who I would call knowledgeable about IT who has a Mac

I do security software for Windows as a senior enginner. My wife does internal tech support. I am friends with other senior engineers and senior product managers at a security company (you know the name, not the creators of this white paper). There's an average of two Macs per person in this group.

Re:Must be different Apple users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270196)

absolutely, no-one i know who owns a mac (15-20 people) know anything about IT in the slightest!

Re:Must be different Apple users (3, Insightful)

oudzeeman (684485) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270245)

I have a M.S. in computer science. I've worked on avanced research funded by the US Army, NIH, and NSF. I participated in research that was used to justify the worlds largest Apple cluster, deployed at another subcontractor's facility.

I consider myself primarily a Mac user, even though I typically use Linux, OS X, and Windows every day. I do the vast majority of my work on my Apple laptop, and it is the platform I feel most comfortable with. The interesting thing is I've only been a Mac user since the summer of 2004. At my last job we purchased a large XServe G5 cluster (256 nodes), which at the time was probably the 3rd largest Apple cluster in a university. I used a Linux workstation at this point, and I was having doubts about running OS X on a cluster. I flew out to the WWDC while the ink was still drying on the PO. I was impressed with the developers tools I saw at WWDC, and with the whole OS experience. I ordered a iMac G5 for my desk the very day they were available for sale. We had to work at porting some applications to OS X, and there were a few issues with being one of the earliest large HPC clusters (especially one that ran large MPI applications over Ethernet - lots of early Mac clusters ran embarassingly parallel stuff, or infinniband line VT). I took a new job where I spend a good chunk of time writing scietific sofware for Linux based clusters - I insisted my employeer provide me with a Mac (we have about 1,200 employees and run about 40% Mac desktops, but no one in my group had a Mac).

Re:Must be different Apple users (2, Informative)

oudzeeman (684485) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270266)

Oh yeah, in our IT department a TON of the people have powerbooks/macbook pros

self-selected? (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269979)

"...are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer..."

While this is true in some segments of the market (*nix geeks migrating to OS X), it is by no means true of other segments. There are many designers/graphics pros who choose to use Macs. However, this in no way implies that they actually understand technology. Some do. Many don't. The choice to use Macs is typically because either they have always used Macs or that is what they were trained on.

Self-selection, where the product buys you. (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270161)

If only every manufacturer had the power of self-selection, there would be no need for advertising since the product was indeed 'self-selected' or wait....come to think of it, is everything we buy 'self-selected'?

Or, could it be that we are just mindless Mac buyers controlled by the powers of the Great Black Turtleneck?

Antivirus companies are scared... (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269983)

The antivirus companies are scared. Why? When Vista comes out, potentially their market is going to quickly dry up. So they are trying to convince Mac users that they need their software.

Personally, I don't trust any of the antivirus companies one inch. It's big business, and it is in their interests that there are security threats and viruses around. Talk about conflict of interest...
 

Re:Antivirus companies are scared... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270107)

Uh, do we live in the same universe?

"When Vista comes out, potentially their market is going to quickly dry up."

Considering that Vista had to be patched for an XP security hole, I don't think that antivirus companies will suddenly lose out on the windows market.

But yeah, I suppose that Vista could miraculously be virus proof. :P

Re:Antivirus companies are scared... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270126)

I didn't say Vista would be virus proof. But it does have a lot of security features built in.

Re:Antivirus companies are scared... (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270185)

It's big business, and it is in their interests that there are security threats and viruses around.

Do you also distrust pharmaceuticals? (Actually, that one might be justified.) Or hospitals? It's in their interest to have people always getting hurt. Policemen? It's in their interest to have lots of crime. Firefighters? It's in their interest to have fires everywhere.

I don't necessarily love the anti-virus companies myself, I'm just not sure I understand your logic.

Re:Antivirus companies are scared... (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270242)

When Vista comes out, potentially their market is going to quickly dry up.

Did I miss a meeting? Since when is Vista going to be immune from viruses? I know MS has all sorts of anti-virus measures planned, from making Vista itself more secure to introducing its own anti-virus/anti-spyware app(s). But I seem to recall hearing the same thing about XP, and 2000 before that, and NT, and 98, and, and, and...

Macs should still protect themselves (5, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269986)

Im' an avid fan of Macs, and I don't run anti-vi on my Powerbook, but I DO run it on the Macs in my office for a reason that people don't often think of: Macs can be a virus CARRIER, even if they can't be infected!

A few years ago I had a situation (in an all mac offce) where we burned a CD and sent it to a client (the client was Windows based). The client complained that some of the files were infected. As a Mac-only office, I didn't care about running virus protection, so the files went unchecked.

In my current office, a mixed enviroment, I make sure that both OS's are covered. even if the chance of the macs getting infected is next to nill, I want my PCs to be safe.

Re:Macs should still protect themselves (4, Funny)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270152)

I don't run anti-vi on my Powerbook

Please tell me that someone else here read "anti-vi" and thought of the text editor? And that "anti-vi" meant emacs?

Re:Macs should still protect themselves (1)

ibullard (312377) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270263)

Hear! Hear!

I downloaded ClamAV [clamav.net] for MacOS X to see what it was about just to find out that I had a windows virus in some of my archived files. If I had used that file on my Windows machine before scanning I would have had to spend several hours cleaning up the mess.

Always use some form of AV, even if it's just for other's people's sake.

Wow! And I thought I didn't get along with others (1)

The_Real_MrRabbit (541342) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269987)

"First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer, and by and large are a bit more affluent than those who buy cheapo commodity Windows PCs..."

Code Words Dictionary

Self-Selected = Chosen Ones
Average PC Buyer = Stupid Ones
Bit More Affluent = Upper Class

I would take defenders of the Mac platform (not that anyone should really have to defend any platform honestly) more seriously and actually read their articles thoroughly and in-depth if they didn't toss verbiage like the above around.

I want arguments that are straight to the point, avoid emotional slapstick comments - and more importantly let the pure unadulterated data carry the case.

=8-)

Why Are Mac Uses Such Dicks? (0, Troll)

maxxdogg (138149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270155)

Seriously, why are mac users so arrogant? They pay double for hardware that is the same as or less powerful than a pc counterpart. They claim to be technically savvy because they know how to use Photoshop. In fact, macs are FOR non technical people...that's the appeal of macs. How many mac users actually built there own mac. Probably not many as it's almost impossible. Also, macs are increasingly moving to the PC market. Mac users....get off your high horse.

Re:Wow! And I thought I didn't get along with othe (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270166)

I think it's probably true that quite a few of the geek priestly class are attracted to Mac OS X, as they are to Linux and other UNIX. However, the Macintosh platform is notorious for a certain segment of its user base being relatively unsophisticated. Only yesterday someone told me that they thought this reflected well on the platform, because, "people who otherwise wouldn't be able to use a computer can use a Macintosh"!

market niche is not safety (4, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269989)

The Witty Worm [caida.org] demonstrated that a market niche as small as perhaps 12,000 systems can be vulnerable to a worm based attack. The Macintosh is not inherently safe due to niche status. Anybody making this claim is seriously not keeping up with the field of information security.

Worms that have targeted other niche platforms including web servers and database servers of various kinds have also demonstrated that platforms with a few hundred thousand deployed systems (much smaller than the deployed base of Macintosh systems) are vulnerable to worm attacks.

Mac is an appealing target... (4, Insightful)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269993)

Seems to me that virus writers would want to target Macs because of all the talk about how Macs are less succeptable to viruses. It would be more prestigious to create a virus that spreads like wildfire through the "impenetrable" Mac community than to create one for the "wide open" Windows community.

Just my $0.02...

Re:Mac is an appealing target... (3, Insightful)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270143)

Seems to me that virus writers would want to target Macs because of all the talk about how Macs are less succeptable to viruses. It would be more prestigious to create a virus that spreads like wildfire through the "impenetrable" Mac community than to create one for the "wide open" Windows community.

Don't worry, McAfee and Norton are working on it as we speak. As soon as they can put together something more fearful than the cute little proofs of concept that have been floating around expect them to announce a full "epidemic".

It's not legal? It's not ethical? It's not honest? It doesn't matter. Their business model REQUIRES them act in this way. Though not officially, of course.

Re:Mac is an appealing target... (4, Insightful)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270230)

To play devil's advocate, a lot of malware these days seems to want to infect as many hosts as possible, without caring about 'rarity' of hosts. Things like botnets and info-harvesters just want maximum victims.

B.S. (-1, Flamebait)

GmAz (916505) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269996)

That is absolute BS. I used to work at CompUSA and we have an Apple store in there. The majority of Mac users that came in there knew next to nothing about technology. Most of them were running pre-G3 era computers on OS 7.5. When the Mac Mini came out, they jumped on it because it was small and cute. They had no idea what was inside and were pissed when they had to buy a new keyboard because they either had no idea the difference between an old Mac keyboard plug and USB. As for software, a lot asked if they could still buy and downgrade to OS9 because OSX was so different and weird.

The few people that did know about Macs had a specialized purpose. They were either into digital photography, or digital video. They bought the PowerMac G5 because it was the best. They only bought Mac LCD screens because they had no idea any screen would work with a Mac. They still thought there was no inter-compatibility with Mac and PC hardware and heavens forbid if you tell them you can use a two button mouse on a Mac.

The majority of Mac Users are morons. No, I am NOT saying all Mac users are morons, but trust me, they only buy Macs because they are scared and ignorant of what is out there. They like thier little Apple logo and thats all they know. They hear virus and freak out and think that if you have a PC with Windows on it, its an immediate virus. I have only had one virus in my life and its because my wife opened a freaking attachment on an e-mail. Lets just say that never happened again.

Re:B.S. (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270013)

Weird, my quote didn't get in the post and the italics didn't close though I put a "/I" after it. on well, here's my quote again...

First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer, and by and large are a bit more affluent than those who buy cheapo commodity Windows PCs

Re:B.S. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270101)

"Lets just say that never happened again."

Seems like a pretty minor reason to get a divorce/commit murder...

Piss and moan... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270146)

...The majority of Mac Users are morons. No, I am NOT saying all Mac users are morons, but trust me, they only buy Macs because they are scared and ignorant of what is out there. They like thier little Apple logo and thats all they know...

You could say more or less the same things about most PC/Windows users, they are IT morons. They like their little Windows logo and that is all they know. Basically, whether you are talking about Macs or Windows users, the majority of them are bound to be relatively computer illiterate. You may get a slightly higher percentage of Nerds using OS.X by choicle than Windows since most of the other Nerds that didn't flee Windows for Macintoshland will have defected to Linuxland but even so the Nerd/Geek crowd is not exactly the majority of Mac users.

Re:B.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270148)

Those who work at CompUSA, can't figure out italics, etc, shouldn't be making fun of other people. Glass houses, bricks, do the math.

Huh? (1, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15269997)

"... are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer..."

You've got to be kidding. Mac users are even MORE clueless than the average PC buyer, in my experience. They buy Macs specifically to *avoid* having to know anything about technology.

Re:Huh? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270073)

That has been my expirence with many Mac users too. However I do know a few technically oriented people who use Macs, but it doesn't seem to be their main platform.

Re:Huh? (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270140)

i know people who know technology and own macs. in fact everyone i know with a mac is a geek. however, that won't stop the affluent people described in the article from buying them because "they look cool". and then there's the whole "macs don't get viruses attitude". i think they're a great target and i will not be surprised that they have a lot of virus and probably even spyware problems within the next 5 years.

no computer is foolproof.

Straplines aren't what they used to be... (0, Flamebait)

Claws Of Doom (721684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270006)

News for Nerds?
"Tech company tries to stir up some business using FUD"
Hardly.

Stuff that matters?
"Macs? Pfft."
*Comment removed due to danger of fanboi activity*

Arik Hesseldahl surprising ideas... (1)

ynohoo (234463) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270021)

Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer

In my experience Mac users know bugger all about technology, and care more about furnitures than they do about computing.

There may be exceptions in their established graphic artists user base, but even they are more likely to be "gadget collectors" rather than tech-heads.

Why Doesn't Linux Get More Attention?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270029)

If you look at the numbers, Linux has arguably carved out a bigger piece of the "market share" than Apple has. In fact, it would seem that, even by conservative estimates, Linux has at least twice the market share that Linux has. So, why is it the Apple garners more attention? Or, why is it that Apple/Mac is perceived to be of greater importance/respect/installed base/mind share than Linux?

Why is Apple regarded as number two to Windows instead of Linux when the numbers show otherwise? I'm not asking about viruses per se, I'm asking about how the industry as a whole treats Apple as if it had a larger market share than Linux.

Couldn't be bothered to read the rest... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270031)

... are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer

My experience with Mac users is that they do indeed know more about Macs and OS X, but not much else. Ask them about Windows or Linux (or BSD, for that matter) and they won't get very far.

That's just been my experience.

Re:Couldn't be bothered to read the rest... (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270175)

Funny, my experience is just the opposite. Most of the Windows users that I know couldn't find their way around a system that's not theirs if their life depended on it. And I don't mean an OSX or Linux system, I mean another machine running the SAME OS they use, just configured differently.

Meanwhile, most of the Mac users I know are administrators of non-Mac sites, or do support for non-Macs. I know a Mac guy that's a Solaris admin, and another that manages several school buildings full of XP laptops and desktops. I'm the family's computer support (as I'm sure most of you are as well), and I'm forever troubleshooting my sister's Windows machine from the comfort of my OSX environment. I really need to get around to having her install VNC so I can work directly on her machine, rather than trusting her to understand my instructions, since my Windows machine looks different than hers.

Re:Couldn't be bothered to read the rest... (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270264)

Ask ANY segment of the general populace about Linux or BSD (except maybe programmers and network guys), and they won't get very far.

For that matter, ask any segment of the general populace about OSX or Windows, and they'll probably tell you a few things they learned by rote - where the Word icon is, how to save a document, etc.

One difference I guess you can point to is that Mac users all must care about computers to SOME degree, otherwise they'd be buying cheaper Dell boxes. But I certainly wouldn't attribute to Mac users any special competence in the field of network security. If anything, we Mac guys are LESS knowledgeable, because many of us have never had that enriching experience of reinstalling our entire system because we caught some inexpungible virus.

Anyway, Apple is concerned enough about security and the "completeness" of their systems that I'm sure they will at least TRY to build in antivirus measures good enough to keep Mac users from having to pay for McAfee.

In London... (2, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270044)

Most Mac users are not tech-savvy... many claim to be, but believe me they are not. :) There are, though, some real tech-savvy mac users, but they're in the minority.

Mac Losers (1)

Woy (606550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270051)

Apple technologies may have merit, but this is just ridiculous:

"First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer, and by and large are a bit more affluent than those who buy cheapo commodity Windows PCs ... "

His points being:

1) I paid more, so more expensive must mean better, right?
2) I am smarter than you, and i say it in a non-specific way so that you don't instantly laugh at me, showing i'm smarter than you
3) I paid more, so more expensive must mean better, right? RIGHT?

I LOL at you, sir, from the depths of my xorg.conf file.

Wrong premise, to begin with. (2, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270053)

Just because you pay more for your computer doesn't mean that you are more computer-savy.

Mac users tend to be mac users because they want things to "just work". If anything, they may be less tech-savvy, since they don't need to delve into the inner working of the OS as much. And, therefore, they should be *more* prone to get viruses/trojans. Except, of course, Mac OSX is built with security in mind, as opposed to Windows 95/98/98SE/ME/NT/2K/XP/etc.

this is old and tiring (2, Insightful)

DigDuality (918867) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270076)

The guy is flat out wrong. Most Mac users are no more tech savy than your average Windows user. The walk into the Apple store and see shiny computers/pretty OS X is a damned secure OS. Especially with it's default root account disabled, among other things. I don't know what sickens me more though. The FUD from McAfee and Symantec as they salivate to capture another market, or the snottiness of a bunch of geek-wanna-be's in black turtle necks sipping red wine and eating cheese acting like they are invincible.

Re:this is old and tiring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270184)

This pretty much sums it up for me, too. Unix-based Macs are nice, it is the user community that is so off-putting.

MacBook release imminent? (1, Offtopic)

kuwan (443684) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270080)

If you go to the iPod page [apple.com] on Apple's website there appears to be an error. This is the text:

Home > Hardware > MacBook

Perhaps this is a slip-up signaling the near release of the MacBook (sans Pro) to replace the iBook line. You can catch a screenshot here [cutterpillow.com] (until my server melts down).

Anti-Ego before Anti-Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270109)

[i]"First off, Mac users on average pay more for their computers, are self-selected because they tend to know more about technology than your average PC buyer, and by and large are a bit more affluent than those who buy cheapo commodity Windows PCs ... [/i]

Indeed, it would appear your large head and considerable ego are much larger obstacle to overcome even before you address any issues regarding your choice of computers and viruses.

tend to know more about technology . . . HA! (0, Troll)

Dracen (973030) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270131)

"tend to know more about technology" than what, maybe a cave person. I personally work in a company with about half mac half pc users. I am friends with many of both but on average 99% of my mac users don't know the difference between a hard drive and the case. On the other hand my pc users aren't much better but I will say that 99% of the people that do know something about computers, use pc's and hate mac, myself included. Is it just me or does anybody else remember that just a few years ago macs big marketing scheme was that all you had to do was plug it in and you didn't need to know anything about computers (not true by the way)? I am sure that mac's have their use, I haven't found it yet, I know I will upset a few people with this, but anything graphically that can be done on a average mac ($2000 give or take) I can do on a higher end pc ($2000 give or take) and chances are it will look exactly the same, not to mention I will be free to use whatever software I want because it will be reverse compatible. As for viruses, I admit because the OS is based on Unix it is harder to get a virus but as someone else said they can still carry them and infect other computers even if they are not affected themselves.

Wate wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270156)

Mac users know more about technology than the average PC user? What complete and utter bullshit; I wish there was a more civil way of putting it, but considering the statement it's appropriate. Just to keep things simple:

Macs: one manufacturer, users don't have to concern themselves with what's inside becuase there's practically no choice (other than what's new and what's old, and how much memory/hard drive space they want).

PCs: multiple manufacturers, multiple competing chipsets, the average user don't concern themselves with what's inside as well, but we also have the option to rise above the 'average' user and built/upgrade our computers as we damn well please.

People who buy Macs and pre-assembled PCs both do it because it's convenient and they don't want to bother learning about the tech, but it's the PC users who can learn about the tech if they want to - Mac users just don't have that option.

God, the ignorance of this story sickened me.

Question about Boot Camp and viruses (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270163)

Is the OSX code protected while running in WinXP mode? While this is an even smaller group than just Mac users alone, they might be more vulnerable. If they believe that since they are running a Mac, it is imune regardless of OS and thus not have WinXP secured.

Just curious if anyone has any insight in this direction.

Re:Question about Boot Camp and viruses (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270190)

In my original question, I was wondering if running XP would make OSX more vulnerable. But I had a another thought: Regardless of whether it does, the machine may be more vulnerable in XP mode than the average PC if Mac users assume they are invulnerable regardless of OS.

Re:Question about Boot Camp and viruses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270261)

If the malware can write to HFS+ Mac OS X partition - Yes.

Use Parallels Workstation instead, it's a sandbox for Windows (other OS's) inside Mac OS X, run several OS's at once. The only bitch, 3D graphics is slower than BootCamp.

I know this is an oversimplification, but... (1)

dildo (250211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270165)

... ins't this like asking "Is FreeBSD the next Windows?"

AFAIK, the two ways to get inside an OS X machine are to dupe the user into entering an administrator password or to take advantage of a very novel hole. Doing either is more complex and difficult than what Windows viruses tend to do.

Since most services are turned off by default in OS X, the people who are ignorant about IT are less likely to turn them on. (Why would they turn on what they don't need or don't understand?) This makes the virus maker's lot even more difficult.

I'm no expert, but this looks like FUD to me.

What we need here... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270174)

Will be the first BIG Virus/Trojan/Worm for OS X to hit and hit hard.

I agree most Mac people I know don't even think about security. If they do they just wrap themselves in the "Apple is immune to viruses" blanket and suck their collective artsy fartsy thumbs.

Someone will write it. Some nasty malicious code and they won't even have to be as sneaky as the windows guys in getting an end user to run/install it because they won't think anything could adverse affect their "immune" mac.

It will happen.. when it does.. you all owe me a dollar... or a cookie.. or at least a haiku about pudding cups.

Re:What we need here... (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270213)

...the first BIG Virus/Trojan/Worm for OS X to hit and hit hard.

Personally, I'd love to see it, strictly from a geek perspective. Actually getting a virus to work in OSX that's not a social engineering hack (having the end user physically enter their admin password) would be very interesting.

I haven't had a virus on any of my Macs since the early 90s. I haven't bothered with anti-virus software since the mid-90s. I kinda hope that a virus *does* hit, so the guy that wrote Disinfectant feels the need to come out of retirement :)

Apple users are smarter? (2, Insightful)

PhreakinPenguin (454482) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270210)

I work for an IT outsourcing company and we handle a TON of medical offices as well as their home stuff. Almost ALL of the docs have Mac's and have no idea how to use them. Sure they know how to do their basic email, web surfing, music stuff but beyond that they have no clue. They use PC's at their offices and have no issues. It has nothing to do with being smarter in doctors cases. It's all about being an elitist for them. They look at Mac's and say if I get one of those i'll be cool. The exact same way they purchase a car.

You would have to be... (1)

Mad Ogre (564694) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270231)

You would have to be a complete moron to buy McAfee, and even more so for OSX. McAfee is the work package out there. It does nothing but cause problems.

apple is dead! long live apple! (4, Interesting)

benbritten (72301) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270240)

Ok, so i see a pattern here. over the last twenty years all i ever heard about the mac was about how dead apple was, and how they were going to vanish and the company was going to go under.

Now all i hear about is that 'any day now' All the macs on the planet are going to be suddenly and utterly destroyed by the impending virus rush.

Look, I don't encourage people to run any system without security. My macs are all behind a nice firewall. However, I think that, given the record of some clever young programmers to break industry strength security in short order, i wonder when all of these virus writers are going to come over and focus on the mac? i mean, the mac market hasn't really changed much in the last year or two. (in terms of numbers) and the hardware change doesnt seem to have made it any easier to infect the systems.

Mac users and the mac community in general have been snobbishly touting the no viruses thing for quite awhile now. There are tons of clever hackers out there who can break all sorts of security, yet all we have so far are a few lame-ass trojans that you have to type your password in to install. (which, really are not viruses so much) So apparently the big carrot of 'first mac virus that actually was a virus' is really not that big of a carrot.

While i am a software engineer on macs, my expertise does not lie in the virus-area, so i can't really say if it is really much harder to write for the mac, or if it is just unappealing in a business sense (for the virus writers).

my opinion: if i measured my income with each thousand machines i added to my botnet with a virus i wrote, then i think i would stick to the 95% of the market that is fairly homogenous in terms of security. (ie all windows) and leave the outlying OSes (mac, linux) because even if both mac and linux double or triple their respective marketshares in the next five years, windows will still be the easy choice for virus makers.

 

definition of "more knowledgeable" (2, Insightful)

slashdotwriter (972437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270244)

Before everyone gets too excited, perhaps this claim can be read to refer to 'non-technical knowledge'. Being in the minority, even average - i.e. 'non-technical' - Mac users at least tend to know about alternatives. That is to say, they tend to know something about the 'other' operating platform, for either they are switchers or they use Windows at work or they were strongly advised not to buy a Mac by Windows users who claim that there are no programs for the Mac, that Macs are slow, that they suck etc. Moreover, I would venture to guess that Mac users tend to know what a web browser is, i.e. that there are alternative browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Explorer, Camino etc. In my experience, many Windows users at the same 'non-technical' level of expertise don't even know what a browser is even though they use it every day. This is because IE is so tightly integrated into Windows (desktop icon, can't be uninstalled) that many users simply equate the internet with IE, just as AOL users used to equate the internet with what was offered by their service provider. Mac users, I would say, generally don't have this non-reflective sense of 'givenness'.

McAfee trying to sell anti-virus for Mac? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270252)

The idea that McAfee is trying to drum up sales for its Mac anti-virus product seems unlikely to me.

If they wanted to sell the product, they'd actually, you know, let people buy single licenses for their Macs.

Expltive Deleted (Bovine Excrement) (1)

ConallB (876297) | more than 7 years ago | (#15270262)

Blogger Arik Hesseldahl needs to consider Mac users now use Intel hardware I hardly see how they are not "PC" buyers themselves and therefore just as stupid as the rest of the computer using world...

And considering the latest stories in the press it hardly seems that the affluent (read gulliable) are getting a better deal than anyone else! http://theinquirer.net/?article=31375 [theinquirer.net]

Even Woz isin't confident in apple's hardware these days!

Oh, and lastly, !WorthHacking != Secure

Pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15270268)

Cheaper better, and you get what you pay for. Elitist PeeCee users and MS fanboys who think their platform of choice is superior simply because there are more of them or because they paid less, deserve the negative side effects that come from those assumptions. Mainly in the form of virii and other forms of malware.

You can talk smack about Mac all day long - "you aren't secure you logic-deficient end user", "it's only a matter of time", "yer in the same boat as us, so grab yer ankles", etc. - but truth is, many of us who have been on the Mac for almost 2 decades have NEVER seen a virus much less succumb to ANY malware. And no, a Microsoft macro does not count (which was the only malware most Mac users have ever had to deal with. Ever. A long time ago. And HAHAH, from dealing with MS software.).

The Mac virus software market is prolly hurting so bad, I wouldn't be surprised if they were inventing a reason to utilize their products. *wink wink nudge nudge*

Gotta love the benefits of a single vendor solution. Remember all those IRIX viruses? All those Solaris ones too? Oh wait, nvm.
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