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McAfee Feigns Fear at Mac Security 403

Posted by Zonk
from the raising-the-terror-level dept.
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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McAfee Feigns Fear at Mac Security

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:39AM (#15269951) Journal
    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.
  • In London... (Score:3, Informative)

    by dave420 (699308) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:50AM (#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.
  • by MathFox (686808) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:54AM (#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.
  • by oudzeeman (684485) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:16AM (#15270266)
    Oh yeah, in our IT department a TON of the people have powerbooks/macbook pros
  • by pubjames (468013) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:39AM (#15270427)
    Apple's mission is to dilute the technical abilities of their user base and turn it into a pool of Windows users.

    Are you sure this is Apple's mission? Personally, I use OSX because it is based on BSD. I know many other recent Mac converts that are the same as me - in other words, it is actually people who understand technology that are moving to the Mac. I'm sure Apple loves that, and I doubt it is their mission to "dilute the technical abilities of their user base".
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:41AM (#15270448) Homepage
    I have read this today and was about to post to Mac usenet groups, decided to post /. instead.

    It is a very interesting article about the real problems of anti virus companies (yes, no mac viruses mentioned) by Mr. Kaspersky himself. It also includes the problems antiviruses have including their products.

    http://www.kaspersky.com/eugenearticle [kaspersky.com]

    As a guy gave up running win32 for 3 years, I still check their site/blog as well as F-Secure one.

    As a side note (hopefully not needed)
    KASPERSKY DOES NOT PRODUCE MAC PRODUCTS. No FUD there.

  • by superburger (972398) on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:11PM (#15270676)
    maybe ponces and posers do buy macs. Maybe apple do market their products to wannabes (God forbid a company makes a few ££ out of selling, er, stuff) but if you attend any chemistry conference, I estimate 1/3 of all laptops used are iBooks / PowerBooks. This is accross the range of academia, from PhD students to Nobel Prize Winners and 1/3 seem to have chosen Macs. Buy most definitions, chemists are pretty good nerds. So why the Mac? I suggest it's because it offers to speed and secuirty of *NIX / Open Source coupled with a wide range of proffesional software apps (ChemDraw, SciFinder) in a (pretty) box which is a piece of cake to use. If you're a busy scientist, you want the power, but you don't always want to spend all day reading man pages. Maybe these people are all deluded idiots with heads up thier own arses, but to keep banging the same old tired drum about Macs only being the preserve of posers and artists just doesn't ring true any more. Inverse snobbery from linux dorks is a terrible thing.....
  • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:12PM (#15270690)
    Your post is almost entirely wrong:

    1) OS 9 had hardly any viruses, just like OS X
    2) OS 9 had a higher marketshare than OS X

    If you see a list of classic MacOS virues (nVir and so on), you have to understand the the vast majority of those date from the 1980s and didn't run under System 7+.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:35PM (#15270898)
    "This is part of the explanation for the number of IIS viruses being greater than the number of Apache viruses, even though Apache has a significantly larger market share."

    IIS6 has a significantly better security record than does Apache2.
    Apache2's vulnerabilities 2003-2006 [secunia.com]
    IIS6's vulnerabilities 2003-2006 [secunia.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:33PM (#15271486)
    > OS 9 had a ton of viruses and they had even a smaller market share than OS X.

    Here are some actual market share [arstechnica.com] figures. OS X (post 2001) is lower than Classic.
  • by auctoris (888249) on Friday May 05, 2006 @08:15PM (#15274474) Homepage
    Wow, we could have spent 10 times more money in the long run due to lost productivity and hardware repair by buying systems at one fifth the cost. No thanks. Number of hours we've had in down time due to hardware malfunctions, viruses, etc.--0. Not bad for 20 years. I'm sure we are a rarity and have been very lucky but we have never had one of our Macs die or require any major repairs.

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