William Tell could have told you…


… Apples are not impenetrable.

I’m an Apple user, and I find all this stress about the fact that there is an Apple virus loose in the wild to be absolutely hysterical.

No kidding. Apples can be attacked.

I used to work for a guy who was as big of an Apple fanboy as they come, and he used to take pleasure at laughing at PC users (even in his own company) when they would get viruses. He would claim that he never got them (not true, I cleaned at least 2 off his machine over the years), and that it was impossible to infect a Mac – it just couldn’t be done. He didn’t even have anti-virus, because it wasn’t necessary.

Here’s the truth about viruses. Any computer can be compromised. Any. Doesn’t matter what you have. Yes, the overwhelming number of viruses out there attack various versions of Windows. The reasons for that are simply that they have the majority market share, and Microsoft is hated by the black hat community. Why attack Macs when they have a 4% marketshare? Far better result to go after the 90%+ group. Also, Macs are cool. Even hackers love their iPhones.

However, times are changing. The Mac market share is increasing. OSX is nowhere nearly as large as Windows, but they are a bigger target than they once were. Also, many Mac users drink the kool-aid wholeheartedly. They believe they are immune to viruses, don’t need to protect themselves from malware, be careful on the Internet, or do anything at all to minimize the risk of getting their Mac compromised. Apple loved the fact that their users believed this so completely that they never stopped spreading the word, which is unfortunate because OSX is inherently no safer than any version of Windows newer than XP SP2.

This belief of invulnerability is like the millionaire in his mansion who refuses to lock his front door against criminals because none would dare rob him. Imagine his surprise coming home to an empty house.

Now that there is a fairly public Mac virus attack in the wild, Mac users don’t know what to do. When Mac owners started bringing their infected Macs to Apple for support, Apple’s response was to refuse to even admit the machines were infected. Wow, really? Not only am I not going to help you, but we can’t let the Apple name be tarnished by something like malware, so as far as we’re concerned, it never happened. Sure, Dell won’t help you remove a virus either, but they’ll at least confirm it is a virus. They sometimes even steer you towards best practices, AV, and firewalls, and can tell you how to re-image your system if things are that bad.

Not so with Macs.

So, it seems Apple is willing to do their customers an extreme diservice. First, they let you believe you’re safe from anything. Second, when you actually are compromised, they won’t confirm it. Third, they won’t even give you instructions on what to do because that would mean dispelling the myth.

I think this is just the beginning. iPhone virus anyone?

1 thought on “William Tell could have told you…

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