Mac attacks on the rise


Mac:  I’m a Mac and I feel great.

PC:  I’m a PC and I’ve got a virus so I don’t feel so great.

Mac:  I’m a Mac and I don’t get viruses.

PC:  My owner connected a new iPod to me and the next thing I knew I was not feeling very well.  Actually, security experts are seeing Mac attacks on the rise over last year.  Symantec says there were 72 security vulnerabilities identifed in Macs in the first half of 2006, up from only 19 in the previous year.  The security software company also identified 6 cases of malicious code on the Mac platform in the first half of this year up from 2 in the previous 6 months. 

Mac:  I don’t feel so good, does it feel hot in here?

Note: no Macs were harmed in the making of this post.



The end is near! Dump your Macs and go back to Windows where you will be safe!

Or… maybe we took this out of context a bit. Let’s see, the title of the article you sourced for this “report” is “Security analysts: Mac attacks *rare* but *may* rise” (emphasis mine).

You misquoted the figures on malicious code:

jkotr: ” The security software company also identified 6 cases of malicious code on the Mac platform in the first half of this year up from 2 in the previous 6 months. ”

cnet: “And Symantec identified six threats of malicious code written for the Mac OS X operating system in the first half of 2006, versus *zero* in the second half of 2005 and two the year before that.”

Guess that makes it look even worse, huh ;) (But, we should note, these were not “in the wild” and spreading, sort of like bird flu, no human-to-human transmission. They were all proof of concepts).

Now for the other side of the article not presented in your synopsis:

“Those numbers are still puny compared to the amount of viruses out there.
Friedrichs said of the 13,000 virus threats Symantec sends out a month, maybe a dozen are related to the Mac, with the majority intended for Microsoft’s Windows platform.
One reason Apple has so far been shielded from nasty code is because its market share is relatively small.
Apple accounted for 3.3 percent of total U.S. computer sales in 2004, and for 4.3 percent in 2005, according to technology research firm International Data Corporation.
Experts say these low numbers, and the unlikelihood that Apple’s share will ever account for much higher than the low double digits, is one reason why the Mac will remain relatively safe. These days, they say, viruses are written more for money than fame.
Taking over a Windows-based computer and using it to send millions of pieces of spam, often with advertising or scams attached, to other Windows machines can generate big money . Writing a Mac-based virus, which could only target other Macs, isn’t nearly as profitable.
But perhaps a bigger reason for Apple’s seemingly safe position is the stability of Mac OS X.
Hoopes said Mac OS X is based on the UNIX operating system, which was developed by Bell Labs in the 1960’s and at the University of California, Berkeley, through the 1970s. Variants of Unix power most of the servers on the Internet and the system has a reputation for security.”
Guess that’s what the security researchers are really saying. Perhaps an examination of the phrase “statistical significance” is in order here. This is practically random noise!
Macs will stay safe as long as us MacFanBoys are the only ones using them. So, please, stick with Windows.

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