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Apple Says Macs Are Safe, No Antivirus Needed

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the thought-we-were-mistaken-but-were-wrong dept.

Security 449

lobridge writes "Over the last two days multiple news feeds (and Slashdot) have been reporting that Apple has been quietly recommending antivirus software for their machines. It appears now that Apple has deleted an entry on their forums that suggested this and are saying that Mac computers are 'safe out of the box.'"

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Safe... until (5, Funny)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978929)

Safe out of the box... that is until a user starts clicking on things.

Re:Safe... until (5, Funny)

cslax (1215816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978947)

But but but... It just works!!

Re:Safe... until (0, Troll)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979495)

But but but... Don't be a troll. If you have something to say that provides constructive feedback to the discussion rather than simply throwing out an implied insult to "fanbois", don't post.

At least you could have the guts to post a real insult if you have one. Like, "This flies in the face of the whole, 'it just works!' fanboi-ism. I believe that Apple has more style than substanc, and one day, this house of cards will collapse just like the failed policies of the Bush administration."

I don't agree with that statement, but if you're going to pick a fight, pick a freakin' fight! Now where did I put that Zoloft?

Re:Safe... until (1)

kaosfury (1276794) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979647)

Why should he be any different than the average slashdotter?

Re:Safe... until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979681)

Someone's sense of humor is broken. Way to go.

Re:Safe... until (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979707)

If Woz said his dick is safe, no condom needed, would you believe him?

Re:Safe... until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979737)

It was a joke. Jokes are meant to be funny. I laughed, then I laughed at your post. Good job following up!

Re:Safe... until (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979747)

Some of us like quips

Re:Safe... until (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979823)

and some of us like trolls. I like combing their long hair, and putting stick on gems all over their faces!

Re:Safe... until (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979057)

Safe out of the box... that is until a user starts clicking on things.

Even after the user starts clicking on things, Macs are generally safe. The user must explicitly punch holes in their system to create most vulnerabilities.

Honestly, the original tech note struck me as an attempt by Apple to say something that Apple politically couldn't say: Mac antivirus software primarily protects against Windows viruses. If Windows exists on your network or runs on your Mac via virtualization, your windows systems will be safer if you run Mac antiviral software. (Macs can't get infected, but they can be carriers!) Thus running antiviral software is a "good idea" and presents "one more program" that must be defeated.

Of course, once the press got wind of this poorly worded tech note, it made more sense for Apple to simply pull it rather than take the political hit of wording it correctly.

Re:Safe... until (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979163)

Whoa...hold on there,son. The fact that they publish security updates proves them wrong.

Maybe there aren't many (or any) viruses, worms and whatnot targeting the platform today, but they will come, and when they arrive, it will be a good idea to have some protection installed beforehand. A relative few will still get infected before the AV industry can react, but the rest will be safe as soon as a definition update appears that detects the threat.

Re:Safe... until (3, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979311)

Yeah, but I think paying for antivirus software (and the likely yearly subscriptions) when there isn't even evidence of any viruses actually existing seems to me to be like paying for car insurance before you've bought a car or got your license. Should we also be vaccinating our bodies against theoretical illnesses that haven't even been discovered yet?

Re:Safe... until (0, Offtopic)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979523)

Should we also be vaccinating our bodies against theoretical illnesses that haven't even been discovered yet?

According to Executive order 13295 [cornell.edu] , yes, we should! But only if the government says so!

Ex. Ord. No. 13295. Revised List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases

Ex. Ord. No. 13295, Apr. 4, 2003, 68 F.R. 17255, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 13375, 1, Apr. 1, 2005, 70 F.R. 17299, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264 (b)), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Based upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the "Secretary"), in consultation with the Surgeon General, and for the purpose of specifying certain communicable diseases for regulations providing for the apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases, the following communicable diseases are hereby specified pursuant to section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act:

(a) Cholera; Diphtheria; infectious Tuberculosis; Plague; Smallpox; Yellow Fever; and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Crimean-Congo, South American, and others not yet isolated or named).

(b) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is a disease associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, is transmitted from person to person predominantly by the aerosolized or droplet route, and, if spread in the population, would have severe public health consequences.

(c) Influenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic.

Sec. 2. The Secretary, in the Secretary's discretion, shall determine whether a particular condition constitutes a communicable disease of the type specified in section 1 of this order.

Sec. 3. The functions of the President under sections 362 and 364(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 265 and 267 (a)) are assigned to the Secretary.

Sec. 4. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit enforceable at law or equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 5. Executive Order 12452 of December 22, 1983, is hereby revoked.

George W. Bush.

Check out this COOL auction!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979621)

Re:Safe... until (0, Troll)

vulpinemac (570108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979895)

Ummm.... you do know that today's drug companies create medicines for diseases that haven't been invented yet, right? I mean, before a specific drug came out, whoever heard of [i]Restless Leg Syndrome?[/i]

Re:Safe... until (4, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979467)

Maybe there aren't many (or any) viruses, worms and whatnot targeting the platform today, but they will come, and when they arrive, it will be a good idea to have some protection installed beforehand.

People have been saying the same damn thing for 8 years. "Just wait, one day OS X will get a virus. You'll see."

Ok, well, after hearing this for almost a decade I'm kinda starting to get skeptical.

Re:Safe... until (3, Insightful)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979657)

People have been saying the same damn thing for 8 years. "Just wait, one day OS X will get a virus. You'll see."

Actually, people have been saying "One day, OS-X will have enough users that malware authors will target it the way they target Windows". That hasn't happened yet, but OS-X marketshare is trending upwards, so it might still happen.

Also, please note the omission of "You'll see" and other such things. I don't want OS-X users to get viruses just so that my point gets proven. I do agree that in all likelihood if you run OS-X without an AV you'll be ok. That still doesn't negate the point -- OS-X does not have any inherent security advantage over Windows, and Apple's smug attitude towards security will bite them in the butt if their marketshare increases.

Security updates (2, Interesting)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979555)

Good point, after reading your post I ran Software Update on my Tiger machine at work and found a 72.5 MB security update waiting to be downloaded and installed.

And most of the updates [apple.com] seem to be the kind of stuff that gets patched on Windows machines.

I guess Apples and PCs have many of the same security issues, the difference is that fewer people care to exploit them on Macs and also that it's easier to take advantage of click-happy users on a Windows computer to pull off an exploit. "Durr... naked pictures of Britney? CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKpwned."

Re:Safe... until (4, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979357)

something that Apple politically couldn't say: Mac antivirus software primarily protects against Windows viruses

Considering that Apple runs ads that directly state that "PCs" get viruses whereas "Macs" do not, I don't see why they would mind saying roughly the same thing in a tech note.* Seems to me that they have already taken a pretty visible stance on that political issue.

That having been said, I suspect you are right: once this whole issue blew up, it was safer to completely distance themselves from the original tech note, rather than try and explain why they had originally issued it.

[*] Conceivably the tech note was written by some lower-level employee who didn't want to say something controversial. So instead he/she left it vague and just suggested that "antivirus is a good idea" and so on.

Re:Safe... until (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979821)

Yeah right. That's why Mac OS X got hacked while Vista and Linux were immune.

Make all the excuses you want. Mac OS isn't invincible. It's not even secure.

Re:Safe... until (0)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979875)

If Apple was serious about security, they would have you make a user account and an admin account. This run as admin by design crap is silly.

It was the first thing I changed after getting my mac. I have not needed to login to my admin account besides the first time I set it up. When I need to do something that requires the privileges, it just asks for the user/pass. The upside is it prevents any problems that may develop from hurting anything but my user's home folder.

Re:Safe... until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979263)

Safe out of the box..... Until you plug-in the power and net connection...

win (1)

ufoolme (1111815) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979299)

So what Windows is safer left in the box!

Re:Safe... until (1)

tbrex33 (1422101) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979321)

As a user, I really do not care if Apple is vulnerable at all, it is if me using their platform makes me vulnerable as a user. The threat is not to Apple, but users like me. Those who are considered threats want login names and passwords.... Apple knows "they" are safe in the area..

Re:Safe... until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979403)

Yeah, it's rather like the OpenBSD in that regard, isn't it? OpenBSD, of course, boasts to only have had two remote holes in the default install in more than ten years, but while that's still an impressive feat, it becomes at least somewhat less impressive once you realise the default install doesn't actually contain anything to get any actual work done.

Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978941)

First, that article had been there for quite some time [macnn.com] (but was just updated in the last week of November, when the IT press noticed it), and was just a generic recommendation for antivirus software on Mac OS X, and pointed at some third parties who provide such software. Second, the representative did NOT say "No Antivirus Needed"; on the contrary, the representative said antivirus software offers additional protection.

Antivirus software has always been recommended in our environment on all systems, including Mac OS X. But the very real fact is that -- for whatever reasons, many of which can be argued to no end -- Macs have far less problems with malware and serious security vulnerabilities that have a real impact on users.

As Macs are increasingly used in mixed environments, antivirus software is always prudent, as Mac antivirus software also recognizes and captures Windows viruses in addition to Mac, stopping inadvertent spread. For example, Symantec's full array of virus definitions for Windows and Mac OS are included in the definitions on both platforms.

Malware exists for Mac OS X (and Mac OS before), and always has in various forms. Nearly all of them -- even the recent highly publicized cases -- are trojans requiring deliberate user interaction, and have no mechanism for mass-propagation. The proliferation of hardware- and software-based firewalls and other changes have helped the situation on all platforms.

Porn video codec trojans requiring user interaction -- even as their prevalence increases as Mac marketshare grows -- do not rise to the level of vulnerabilities potentially allowing remote administrative control of all versions of Windows without any user interaction or knowledge, nor the massive worms of old costing untold manhours and untold billions in recovery and lost productivity.

Macs have very real security problems, and Macs have malware specifically targeted at the platform. But for a variety of reasons, Mac OS X is, in a very real sense, a more secure computing platform with respect to malware. This does not mean there are not legitimate concerns and gripes, does not mean Apple has made some poor decisions with respect to security, and does not excuse gloating fanboys.

But frankly, Mac users always should have been running some kind of antivirus software, even if only to prevent unknowing propagation of Windows malware, and institutions such as ours have recommended this as policy for years. But since Apple updated a knowledgebase article, and since the trend has been to give an inordinate level of coverage to any Mac security issue, however minor, I'm sure this will continue to be melodramatically blown out of proportion.

Macs have far less problems with "malware" and related issues than Windows. Not all of this is only due to marketshare. Some is due to changing strategies of malware writers, new attacks on browsers and other cross-platform applications, increased attention to network security, better user education, and number of other factors. But even as Mac marketshare grows and the platform is increasingly targeted, there still have not been any high-impact massive issues with malware and/or severe security vulnerabilities as there have been on Windows.

Apple has come a long way on security response from its attitudes even a couple of years ago, and still has a long way to go. But if a benign recommendation for AV software get blown up into a huge issue with media extrapolating that this must mean Apple is under heavy attack, and indeed, Apple may even be aware of an impending flood of malware, I'm not surprised Apple responded by simply pulling the article altogether. The perception in the marketplace is that Macs have a lot less problems with malware. That's completely accurate. Why would Apple want that correct perception tarnished by a bunch of sensationalism?

hexually transmitted (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979103)

Could you have maybe said that shorter? Something like "Hey, they're only suggesting that you wrap your system before practicing unsafe hex. But we have a lower rate of hexually transmitted malware than Windows. We do advise that you contact your vendor immediately if you have a software install lasting longer than four hours as this could indicate a more serious technical condition."

Re:hexually transmitted (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979221)

Could you have maybe said that shorter?

Don't read many of daveschroeder's posts, eh? He has a tendency to be a bit wordy, but much of what he has to say is actual useful information, especially relating to Macs, even if he is an Apple fanboy at heart. ;)

Re:hexually transmitted (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979317)

Don't read many of daveschroeder's posts, eh? He has a tendency to be a bit wordy, but much of what he has to say is actual useful information, especially relating to Macs, even if he is an Apple fanboy at heart. ;)

I didn't even read that one; I skimmed it. Probably something to do with being attention-deficit you know. If I have to scroll a comment, chances are good it's a religious/fanboy posting. If you ask me, anyone who'd devote that much time to a post is either on Apple's payroll or needs to get out of the basement and get some sunshine.

Re:hexually transmitted (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979571)

So it is unlikely that people with things to say have no desire to be complete and accurate in their thoughts, ideas and expressions? It only takes one quick generalization before people start blasting you with "that's not true because it's not true for me."

While there may be some moments when it is possible to be both brief, accurate and complete, I would suggest that those moments are the exception and not the rule. Just as with your short conclusion, it is completely presumptive and incorrect. I would be neither on Apple's payroll nor in a basement if I were to have responded in similar fashion. Your mind has been dulled by 30 minute episodes and 10 minute commercial breaks.

Re:hexually transmitted (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979607)

As opposed to your short trollish comments? Goddamn you must be one fugly hag or closet dike to be on /. this much.

Re:hexually transmitted (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979547)

Truthfully, very little of what he has to say is actually that useful or informative. Dave's kind of an intellectually dishonest ass.

Re:hexually transmitted (2, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979513)

Could you have maybe said that shorter?

Yes.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (5, Informative)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979265)

Nice long post, but you have one MAJOR fallacy included:

As Macs are increasingly used in mixed environments, antivirus software is always prudent, as Mac antivirus software also recognizes and captures Windows viruses in addition to Mac, stopping inadvertent spread. For example, Symantec's full array of virus definitions for Windows and Mac OS are included in the definitions on both platforms.

Wrong. Totally wrong. Mac antivirus software ONLY scans for W32 viruses as those are the only payloads that there are definitions for. You run that as a dontation of CPU cycles to your clueless Windows running counterparts who can't be bothered to run an OS designed from the ground up for multi-user networked security (like Linux, BSD, or as a result, MacOS)

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (0, Troll)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979443)

Haha, Linux isn't an OS.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979613)

Wrong. Totally wrong. Mac antivirus software ONLY scans for W32 viruses as those are the only payloads that there are definitions for. You run that as a dontation of CPU cycles to your clueless Windows running counterparts who can't be bothered to run an OS designed from the ground up for multi-user networked security (like Linux, BSD, or as a result, MacOS)

Mac antivirus software from vendors like Symantec, Sophos, and Intego all include definitions for malware specifically designed for Windows and Mac OS X, in addition to other cases (e.g., Office macro viruses). Now, if you're asserting that there are no "viruses"-proper for Mac OS X, I must say that my statement intended to simply reflect "malware" in general.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979757)

Reference please?

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979809)

There were MAC viruses already during the early 90's.

But that was for the 68k architecture.

Anyway - ignorance in the case of security issues is dangerous. But the anti-virus softwares that are around aren't really useful. They only look for known evil code.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (3, Informative)

radish (98371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979761)

Wrong. Totally wrong. A cursory search of the Symantec (for example) DB shows a number of Mac specific attack signatures, including a fun looking AppleScript mass-mailing worm, an OS-level buffer overflow vuln, etc. A tiny minority of the total, sure, but not zero.

OS designed from the ground up for multi-user networked security (like Linux, BSD, or as a result, MacOS)

Pull the other one, it's got bells on! BSD I can maybe buy, but Linux is no more "designed from the ground up for multi-user networked security" than XP. Single root user with unlimited power and an unchangable ID? Overly coarse-grained FS ACLs? The problem with Windows isn't the design (at least, not in anything post-NT), it's the fact that most installations intentionally defeat the security model to make things "easier".

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (4, Informative)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979877)

Ok,

but read the DB closely:

# Number of Infections: 0 - 49
# Number of Sites: 0 - 2

So, its been detected at somewhere in the area of 1 or 2 sites. Ever. Not really losing sleep over it, but I'll concede the point that there kinda sorta is one virus definition in the virus scanner.

the second one isn't even protected against by the AV software.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (2, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979891)

If you really think Linux and Macs are safe because they are "designed from the ground up for multi-user networked security", then you don't know what you are talking about. It may be more secure than other OS's...but if you are connected to a network, you are not safe. Mac zealots need to stop thinking and telling other people they are immune because they use this OS. It is ridiculous and will only make it that much harder to get "clueless" Mac users to properly use their computer.

And it isn't that people can't be bothered to run Macs or Linux. The majority of the software out there still is written for Windows. I find it amusing that the first thing most Mac users do is set up there box to dual boot Windows or set up some Windows VM. If you really want to talk about security, sit down at the grown up table and realize that there are a heck of a lot of people who use Windows. That all systems that are connected to a network are vulnerable. And that you shouldn't put down someone for their choice of OS. Each OS is a tool that can be used effectively for different purposes. It is good to have choice and if we want to secure things, then yes, it sure is helpful to have Mac users running AV and not clicking on every shady link that comes their way.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979447)

The reason for antivirus on the mac is the same for universal inoculation. If everything is inoculated, then the virus will tend to no longer be a problem. With Macs not inoculated, even though macs may be immune, the could be a vector.

Because of this many, including me, have chosen not to use malware detectors, not wishing to sacrifice the money, the cycles, the headache of updating, the headache of flaky software. This does, however, leave macs as a potential target if anyone feels like taking the time to make the delivery package.

It would be good for apple to piggy back on some general malware project, like spybot, and create a scanner for the mac. Spybot could keep the signatures up to date, and Apple could maintain the app.

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979701)

A long post indeed, but absolutely agree.

Speaking of trojans/rootkits, bad news, ask your local AV-product how much of a % of the stuff out it's gonna recognize...

Concerning Mac OS * in the business I feel that you can more easily manage (security wise) M$ clients (group policies, ...) than MACs (unless you want users to do what they want with your computer, might be a strategy as well).

But then again I might be mistaken, anybody with insides or advice about Mac's in an enterprise (with significant deployment rate) using Mac OS X?

Re:Wrong, and bad summary, as usual (4, Informative)

Graff (532189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979797)

Here's a better article [informationweek.com] that's less inflammatory and also contains a statement directly from Apple:

"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate," an Apple spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. "The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. However, since no system can be 100% immune from every threat, running antivirus software may offer additional protection."

Sounds a bit more reasonable than the story text posted here on Slashdot.

Bullshit (3, Insightful)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978945)

If you're on the internet, you're vulnerable. Period.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979055)

if you're not on a mac on the internet you mean. Period.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979059)

Your use of "the internet" is rather open. Does an internet user need to listen for connections from others to be considered as one? Any time a network daemon is listening for connections, it is vulnerable to potential code exploits.

Relying on targets to first connect to you in order to initiate an attack seems overly difficult (even tedious), although it would still be possible.

Re:Bullshit (5, Funny)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979083)

If you're on the internet, you're vulnerable. Period.

I browse the web using telnet. Sometimes I do have to break out my calculator to handle https sites.

Re:Bullshit (2, Interesting)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979259)

I browse the web using telnet. Sometimes I do have to break out my calculator to handle https sites.

You jest, but having written several web server applications in the past, I have essentially had to browse web sites via a console interface in order to debug my programs. You actually get used to reconstructing the web page in your head, much like web developers can see their sites when writing code.

Re:Bullshit (2, Funny)

myz24 (256948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979785)

you're doing it wrong

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979303)

If you're on the internet, you're vulnerable. Period.

Unless you're running a VAX, and then no one wants to talk to you.

Re:Bullshit (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979397)

If you're on the internet, you're vulnerable. Period.

You're so right. Hackers really have true digital power. If you don't believe hackers have true digital power, you better get a life right now or they'll hack your computer off the Internet! Hackers flip out and hack computers ALL the time. They are also mammals.

Re:Bullshit (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979699)

Do you love them with all of your body (including your pee pee)?

Re:Bullshit (0, Flamebait)

revscat (35618) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979557)

If you're on the internet, you're vulnerable. Period.

I really can't think of any response more appropriate than this: you, sir, are a moron.

Have a nice day.

Re:Bullshit (1)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979889)

I really can't think of any response more appropriate than this: you, sir, are a moron.

Try not to think, it will only cause your head to hurt.

Judging by the shallow depth of your wit, I will leave it to Samuel Clemens to respond; "In a battle of wits, it is poor sport to fight an unarmed man"

Re:Bullshit (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979559)

True. I've even seen Thinclients running embedded Windows get infected. Management had been fed a line that "thinclients can't get infected because there's no hard drive" as a major selling point. They were really surprised by the pricetag for a mountain of usb memory sticks with OS updates, and the third party labor to make lots of roadtrips.

Better title (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978949)

"Apple quietly makes up its mind"?

Seriously, though. There might not be much out there in the wild, but it would certainly nice to see all computer come with anti-virus software that checks for the virii of other platforms, to reduce overall infection rates.

Re:Better title (3, Funny)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979081)

brilliant idea!

only thing is, apple fanboys wouldn't be able to criticize PCs as much for having viruses--the more viruses on PCs, the more macs get sold

Re:Better title (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979359)

Don't use virii. [wikipedia.org]

Overhyped (2, Insightful)

xav_jones (612754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978957)

The whole story about Apple encouraging anti-virus software was severely over-hyped anyway. There are malicious bits out there that will damage your system if you do something stupid, like install a Trojan or run an untrusted Office macro. OS X is still quite secure out-of-the-box and *this* is where it is most different to Microsoft's offerings.

Are there any Mac Viruses? (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25978983)

I mean is there? Anti-virus programs work by looking for specific code. If that code doesn't exists yet what does it look for? Windows viruses?

Re:Are there any Mac Viruses? (-1, Troll)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979159)

Of course there are. Apple however does a pretty good job of stopping any disclosure. If their "ignore the man behind the curtain" attitude extends to virii, there won't be any to check against.

Re:Are there any Mac Viruses? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979291)

Wow that is well into the tinfoil hat area. What viruses are their for OS/X? What current exploits are out for it.
I really don't buy into there are but they are secret.

Re:Are there any Mac Viruses? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979315)

Of course there are. Apple however does a pretty good job of stopping any disclosure. If their "ignore the man behind the curtain" attitude extends to virii, there won't be any to check against.

What? That makes no sense. It's not as if Apple can put a stop to a virus written by and released by someone else just by wishing it so.

"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the World" 1 John 4:14

Oh right. You're not used to dealing with sense.

-1 retarded (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979381)

You can find all the past worms and exploit code on any of the antivirus vendor's websites. Most of them are so old and have been patched for years.

Re:Are there any Mac Viruses? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979487)

Did you buy that 5-digit Slashdot ID?
Sure there are. A LOT fewer but there have always been some out there. [iantivirus.com]

Only reason that there aren't that many is low market share. Writing viruses for Windows is more cost effective.

Re:Are there any Mac Viruses? (3, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979631)

The page you linked to shows malware, not viruses. No system is immune to malware. And as far as viruses are concerned, there has never an OS X virus. Ever.

And the market share thing has been debunked time and time again. You think that if virus writers could capture 100% of 8% of the market that they wouldn't have done so sometime in the past 8 years?

Re:Are there any Mac Viruses? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979767)

I looked at that page and I saw mainly malware not viruses per say. Also if you look a good number of them are not even for OS/X some are for System 6.
It does look like there are some threats but they are pretty few and far it would seem.

PR move (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979013)

I guess this is knee-jerk reaction to bad PR. Really, the way most viruses work today, Windows machines are the most susceptible. OS X (and other BSD based OS) and Linux are based on different design principles and mostly immune to viruses. Trojans are probably more likely for these systems. I think having a virus check now and then is beneficial in removing those Windows viruses that manage to get onto a Mac so they don't become repositories.

Re:PR move (1)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979213)

OS X (and other BSD based OS) and Linux are based on different design principles and mostly immune to viruses.

The design principals play a minor role. It's the obscurity that offers the most protection.

Re:PR move (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979697)

Default configuration has a lot of skin in the game.

If OS X were a hilarious sieve, people would be exploiting it for the resources that are available at this point. Windows being a softer, more valuable target it a contributor, but there are plenty of Mac resources just sitting there on the internet.

The relative lack of major incident in the last several years suggests that adding Anti-Virus software to Windows, and the better default firewall post XP SP2 have had some impact, supporting my point (and I don't know, but I would guess that the Malware situation on Vista is a lot better than on XP, at least for the people that use UAC).

Re:PR move (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979251)

Really, the way most viruses work today, Windows machines are the most susceptible.

Nice of you to put in that qualifier. Because you know, if MacOS ruled the world they of course wouldn't have tons of hackers picking it apart to find a weakness to exploit. I suppose it would be because the lack of a right mouse button would make developing software impossible... Or they'd be so confused by the dogcow their head would explode. The malware writers go where the money is and the money is on Windows.

It's the same as me saying "Well, OS/2 is the most secure operating system, or DOS, or BeOS, because the way most viruses work today..."

Puh-leze!

Re:PR move (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979765)

OS X (and other BSD based OS) and Linux are based on different design principles and mostly immune to viruses.

lol!

Validation? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979023)

Not actual validation, but a good starting point for Apple's argument:
http://milw0rm.com/platforms/osX [milw0rm.com]

Don't need security updates either? (1)

Gorgonzolanoid (1394311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979063)

The fact that they publish security updates proves them wrong.

Maybe there aren't many (or any) viruses, worms and whatnot targeting the platform today, but they will come, and when they arrive, it will be a good idea to have some protection installed beforehand. A relative few will still get infected before the AV industry can react, but the rest will be safe as soon as a definition update appears that detects the threat.

Re:Don't need security updates either? (3, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979237)

Maybe there aren't many (or any) viruses, worms and whatnot targeting the platform today, but they will come, and when they arrive, it will be a good idea to have some protection installed beforehand.

I've never understood the reason for anti-virus software in general. If there's an exploit, then just fix the security hole. Apple does this with their security updates.

That said, I understand the reason for anti-virus software on Windows: Microsoft can't or won't fix the security holes. (They tried with Vista and UAC, but that's a mess.)

Not at ALL like security updates (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979241)

when they arrive, it will be a good idea to have some protection installed beforehand

Antivirus software has to by its very nature integrate itself deeply into the OS and libraries and modify many many calls to insert checks for viruses. Even setting aside the fact that these programs are using unsupported and internal APIs, and the OS vendor does not get to update them as they update the APIs they depend on, they are additional code in a critical path AND they are designed to make normal operations by applications fail when they trigger a signature.

The result is that it is impossible for this kind of software to NOT reduce the performance and stability of your system. Installing AV software WILL cause a certain amount of failures and data loss among the people who use it. Until the risk of data loss from malicious worms and viruses (currently zero) increases to the point where it's greater than the risk from antivirus software (currently non-zero), you are better off without AV software.

This is not theoretical: antivirus companies have been pushing AV software for Palms and Windows CE handhelds since about 2000. In that time there have been zero examples of malware for these handhelds propagating in the wild, and a number of cases where false positives led to data loss.

Re:Don't need security updates either? (1)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979329)

I agree that someday Macs will have to deal with real, self-propagating, platform targeted viruses. However, the incessant "Comming Soon!" chant coming from the security groups (read antivirus peddlers) is just noise at this point.

I'll install a virus scanner once I'm reasonably sure that a self propagating virus that affects mac's is in the wild. Until then I have better things to do with my CPU cycles. I have faith in my own browsing habits that I'm not going to get naild by one of the handful of trojans that target Macs (I only know of 3).

I'm also going to feel free to brag about not needing to run a virus scanner, or deal with any viruses as long as they continue to be "Comming Soon!" I don't care what the reasons are (BSD, Market Share, etc.) my bragging will still be acurate and a valid reason to at least consider the mac platform.

Taking the past for granted? (1)

tbrex33 (1422101) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979075)

Even if there has not been great threats to Mac in the past regarding malicious programs and viruses, the increase in Mac users should still bring attention to the possibility of such attacks like AppleScript.THT. The attention brought by Apple on the subject of virus software the last few days may have just increased the possibility of one.

Father Steve was just testing our loyalty (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979089)

He was separating out the false believers from the flock.

Is it just me... (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979095)

...or does it sound like Apple's tempting virus/malware writers to come up with something for Mac OS X? "This Just In: Massive Mac Malware Epidemic"

Sure has been a lot of Apple bashing on the net (5, Insightful)

NinthAgendaDotCom (1401899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979139)

Lately I've seen a few of these posts on various sites. I think it's the case of Apple being big enough and successful enough over the past few years that they fall into the same category as Google, Microsoft, etc.: no longer a cute underdog, no longer immune from attacks. There's always been some anti-Apple sentiment ("one button mouse!" etc.), but lately it seems more pointed and directed, more tactical.

They are still recommending antivirus! (4, Informative)

secmartin (1336705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979179)

Actually, they are still recommending the use of antivirus. Cnet [cnet.com] quotes an Apple spokesperson saying:

The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, running antivirus software may offer additional protection.

Windows Vista is full of "protection", but I use antivirus on that as well. I love MacOS X, and I'm sure it's more secure, but there will be viruses and other malware on MacOS sooner or later.

By the way, isn't it ironic that Apple is still offering ClamXav for download on their own website [apple.com] ?

Re:They are still recommending antivirus! (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979375)

By the way, isn't it ironic that Apple is still offering ClamXav for download on their own website?

Look! They're also promoting software piracy!!! [apple.com]

In case you don't get it, providing links for software some people may find useful is not the same thing as endorsing it.

Re:They are still recommending antivirus! (1)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979685)

I'll admit I'm a fanboi, but seriously, when was the last time you had a virus on a Mac? I think I had an infected zip disk when I was using System 9. Most antivirus software will identify signatures of known viruses or virus like behavior. Since there aren't any know viruses for the Mac to date, what is their software doing other than protecting my wallet from getting fat?

firsT po5t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979195)

man walking. It's to survive at aal Keep, and I won't noises ouEt of the

Keeping users in the dark? (1)

Velmoor (1411061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979267)

The fact that they had it up there just says they want their users to be safer and just in case kind of security. i think a lot of people overreacted to the issue. yes they are more resilient to viruses and malware, but not immune. and the fact that they took it down shows that Apple likes their users to remain in the dark on the issues, no matter how unlikely.

Re:Keeping users in the dark? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979793)

A large part of the security issues with Windows is that Windows users were trained in a world where viruses werent a big threat. Sure there was the occasional malware, but back in the days, people barely ever had the internet, nevermind downloading viruses for it.

I think that will be the downfall of Apple security eventually. Linux users tend to take security a bit more seriously. Windows users are starting to. Apple users? Nada. They stick their fingers in their ears and go "LALALA IM NOT USING WINDOWS LAlALALA". Once a new attack vector is discovered that can target OSX "by design" (think ActiveX, but more subtle), things are going to go downhill from there, and Apple users will be totally unprepared for it.

Nothing to see here! (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979287)

Nothing to see here! Please move along!

Special Olympics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25979371)

This just in, the Special Olympics are cool and it's impressive to win...but being in it still makes you a....(think about it and this joke is highly relevant...and not in the bashing sorta way)

Seriously, anybody who suggests not using AV software is an idiot. Anybody who falsely claims somebody else is recommending people to not use AV software should be treated equally so. The article doesn't have anything about avoiding AV software, and it's only reasonable to assume that no press release from apple would make such a foolish recommendation, at least for the sake of liability.

Reimburse (3, Funny)

grapes911 (646574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979395)

And who's going to reimburse me for the 7 AV programs I just ordered?

I don't think it was a good sales man. (1)

CYDVicious (834329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979805)

I have an all-in-one solution for you, it may be 4 times more expensive than the 7 you just purchased, but if you purchase this solution, we'll gladly reimburse you for your troubles, and you will just have one program to manage.

Why don't they recommend common sense (2, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979451)

That's what I've been using with various versions of Windows the last 12 years and I've never had any problems.

Re:Why don't they recommend common sense (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979741)

Despite the name, there is a shocking lack of supply.

Cliche (1)

kingsteve612 (1241114) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979577)

Seems like the main marketing tool apple uses to promote macs is safety from malware. i dont know about you guys, but i use windows and i dont have any malware. could it be that a large number of primary mac users really dont know much about computer functionality to begin with? could be. the only people that i know that actually use a mac for everyday stuff really dont know anything about what it is theyre doing. so they buy a windows pc, plug er in to the internet and get malware, then blame it on windows, or PC as Apple marketing calls it. if that doesnt tell you something about apple, then nothing will.

Ironically... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979633)

The more they say how secure OSX is, the more people might flock to it. In turn, that will increase the potential market of users on the system and will likely increase the number of hackers roaming through OSX's code for vulnerabilities. I don't believe OSX is THAT more secure (sure, UNIX is more secure than Windows, but not by the huge margin some are trying to push) and I'm sure a dedicated, interested person would find some exploits to use which would cause a huge panic among the OSX hordes.

But for the time being, OSX is pretty safe. It's all dependent on how far they grow! The larger they are, the bigger target they get...

Nobody (3, Funny)

speroni (1258316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979655)

MAC: Can't even get negative attention.

Picture [ctrlaltdel-online.com]

Apple: "You don't need AV!" (2, Funny)

eagee (1308589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979683)

Even if they were safe before, they won't be for long. That's just asking for it!

Anti-virus software companies (1)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 5 years ago | (#25979841)

With the 'huge' gains in Mac market share in the last view years anti-virus companies are looking to a new market to grow their brands into. What better way than for some blogger and Mac noob like Brian Krebs -owner of his first Mac for three weeks- to slip them a bone by getting the other Mac noobs and recent Windows converts into a lather over some less than spectacular information. Granted, most Unixes and Unix-like OSes have a great deal more security 'out-of-the-box' than the other 'leading brand', to run anti-virus software is just being a good citizen, especially on a corporate network. Anyway, at least the wags over at ElReg apologized [theregister.co.uk] and they included a cute little bit of parody in their apology, Mr. Krebs and the other wonks haven't.
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