Print 26 comment(s) - last by Trisped.. on Jun 27 at 9:44 AM

  (Source: Apple)
Flashback forced Apple to amend its boasting

No one does marketing spin quite like Apple, Inc. (AAPL). Apple proudly promotes its OS X personal computer operating system on a special webpage describing supposed advantages of OS X.  A subsection of that page is devoted to braggadocio regarding security.  Writes Apple:

It doesn't get PC viruses.
A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers.  That's thanks to built-in defenses in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part.

The only problem with that comment is that of late Apple was hit by Flashback, a Trojan that struck hundreds of thousands Macs.  Unlike past Mac malware, the Trojan exploited a vulnerability also found in unpatched Windows machines.  But unlike OS X, Microsoft Windows' Java distribution had been patched months before.

After the wording was poked fun at by some critics, Apple begrudgingly changed it to:

It's built to be safe.
Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.

Apple also changes the humorous "Safeguard your data.  By doing nothing." to "Safety. Built right in."

OS X claims
[Image Source: Apple via Sophos Security]

It's nice to see Apple finally acknowledging that Macs are not immune to malware -- particularly at a time when the population of infected Macs is approaching that of Windows PCs on a percentage basis.  But it remains to be seen whether Apple's most zealous fans who long parroted its claims to frustrated Windows and Linux users take note.

Recent reports have indicated Apple is approximately a decade behind Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in security.

Source: Sophos

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Will it cure Tony of his denial?
By Pirks on 6/25/2012 7:41:25 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think so :(

RE: Will it cure Tony of his denial?
By sprockkets on 6/25/2012 7:45:30 PM , Rating: 5
Denial is what all apple products run off of.

By StormyKnight on 6/25/2012 11:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
Denial is a feature...

Appls vs. Windows Security
By Florinator on 6/26/2012 3:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think I read it here a few months back, that some security expert compared Apple and Windows security like this:

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town."

RE: Appls vs. Windows Security
By Trisped on 6/27/2012 9:20:07 AM , Rating: 3
It is a quote which shows at the bottom of the page.
There was a reference to the original article a few months back, but I think the original quote is a few years old.

Apple is now in the suburbs. It locks the doors, but leaves the bathroom window open.

"Social Engineering"
By Apone on 6/26/2012 3:20:41 AM , Rating: 3
Still waiting for the apple fanboys to chime in with their "It's Social Engineering!" lamea$# reasoning.....

Apple Malware
By menotu on 6/26/2012 7:39:08 PM , Rating: 2
as usual the iSheep will be in total denial

PC Virus?
By Paedric on 6/25/12, Rating: -1
RE: PC Virus?
By zixin on 6/25/2012 4:57:14 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps you need to take another look at the Apple commercials. Did they call the guy in the suit Windows or PC? It is Apple that distinguished the different between a PC and Mac. And Apple claims that any thing that infects a PC won't infect a Mac, a claim that is clearly false.

RE: PC Virus?
By WalksTheWalk on 6/25/2012 5:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
Apple's policy has basically been "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" when it comes to viruses. They've tried to distance themselves from the viruses that have plagued OS X and have even instructed their employees not to assist anyone with a virus on their Mac:

Part of the Jobs RDF, I think.

RE: PC Virus?
By Samus on 6/25/2012 6:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
I still don't get what makes a Mac so special that it isn't considered a PC. Just because it's white and doesn't run Windows doesn't make it something special. It's still a PC.

RE: PC Virus?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/25/12, Rating: 0
RE: PC Virus?
By amanojaku on 6/25/2012 8:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
YOU get that PCs are personal computers, because you're TECHNICAL. The average person doesn't see it that way. The average person sees two competing ecosystems, one based on style and hipness, the other based on geeks and creepiness.

The distinction started because Jobs, ever the showman, mystified the Mac. He made it seem like the hardware and software were fundamentally different from what makes a PC work. There are people who believe Macs are better at graphics. There are people who believe Macs are better at audio. They think that Adobe software and Quark are somehow different on the Mac and PC. They think the Mac is secure. They think "it just works." Meanwhile, I'm fixing their damn two year-old Macs, using my seven-year old PC...

Calling a Mac a PC brings some people back down to earth. Pointing out that they never actually use the OS, but rather the applications, makes a few more humble. Pointing out that Apple has copied many features from MS shocks even more. The rest are hooked on fairy dust and unicorn tears.

RE: PC Virus?
By Pirks on 6/25/2012 8:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
the other based on geeks and creepiness
That's going to change somewhat after Surface is released. It has nothing geeky or creepy about it, it's all new reincarnation of Windows PC that's supposed to be free of geekiness and creepiness and malware and crapware and all the rest of BS that PC are often associated with.

RE: PC Virus?
By StevoLincolnite on 6/26/2012 4:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's all just advertising on Apples part to distant itself from the PC.

In the end, it's still a PC in my eyes since it uses all PC components and even uses a PC OS as the basis for MacOS.

RE: PC Virus?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/26/2012 1:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
No I'm pretty sure WE started the distinction back in the day because we didn't want our PC's associated with those idiot-boxes with an Apple logo on them.

RE: PC Virus?
By StevoLincolnite on 6/26/2012 9:16:44 PM , Rating: 2
You might have. I didn't.

RE: PC Virus?
By Trisped on 6/27/2012 9:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
A PC is a computer which adheres to the IBM PC compatible hardware platform, hence the name. Apple computers have never adhered to this standard which is why they are not considered a PC.

It is also important to note that current PCs do not apply all of the standards, but are derived from computers which did. In essence the modern PC is an evolved IBM PC.

See Also

RE: PC Virus?
By Fritzr on 6/26/2012 1:52:08 AM , Rating: 2
Very thoroughly trained employees since they are supposed to sell anti-virus software to the same customers who they are selling malware free Macs to :P

Oh and there is that famous memo instructing Apple employees to deny the existence of malware found while servicing Macs.

I've always wondered how they reconcile these instructions with the sale of OSX anti-malware software. I guess this is why Apple employees require extensive training :P

RE: PC Virus?
By maugrimtr on 6/27/2012 5:28:51 AM , Rating: 2
Wording in article was "Windows-based". Not sure why folk are downrating the original comment when it's actually correct. That said, the wording used is midleading since it relies on people perceiving Windows on being full of malware/viruses so Macs sound better than they really are. Either way, it's disgracefully misleading wordplay from Apple.

RE: PC Virus?
By kleinma on 6/25/2012 6:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, it is targeting an OS. It might be using a 3rd party piece of software do get its foot in the door, but flashback was specifically targeting OSX. If it had been a Windows based virus, it simply would not have run on OSX, just like Flashback would not run on Windows, even if Java was not patched.

RE: PC Virus?
By Trisped on 6/27/2012 9:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
If it had been a Windows based virus, it simply would not have run on OSX...
This is of course incorrect. If you are exploiting a platform (like Java of Flash) or even a program which has access to the features you want, then it does not matter if you are infecting a MAC or PC. The problem is most platforms and applications do not have the desired access (root/admin) so the exploits require extra, platform specific code to achieve their goals.

The original statement by Apple about not running PC viruses was true, but mainly because Apple was using PowerPC processors instead of Intel. This meant that a PC virus could not even execute on a MAC without an emulator. Of course when Apple changed to Intel processors, management was too stupid to realize that their original statement was no longer true. As a result it was not changed until after a problem occurred.

RE: PC Virus?
By Fritzr on 6/26/2012 1:40:26 AM , Rating: 3
This is a legacy usage that derives from a brilliant marketing campaign back in the early 80s.

Several micro-computers where on the market in 1980 and were marketed as 'personal' computers.

IBM entered this market with the Model 5150 better known as the IBM PC. Later iterations were the IBM PC-XT, IBM PC-AT and IBM PC jr.

IBM compatible computers were commonly called PC compatible due to the IBM naming of these early models. Other companies used their various trademark names leaving IBM compatibles in sole possession of the "PC" designation. Apple had the Apple II/Apple III, and Macintosh (better known as Mac), Commodore had the C-64, C-128 and Amiga, Atari had multiple computers for personal use and marketed by model name.

In time, PC became the exclusive designation of the Microsoft compatible x86 computer designs. Everything else was known by their respective trademark names. Collectively all these small single user computers are personal computers, but PC was a trademark that still applies to Wintel compatible computers including several models that are definitely not 'personal computer' types.

The Jaguar is a personal computer (Atari ST variant) but is not a PC
The Amiga 500 is a personal computer but is not a PC
The Compaq Presario is both a personal computer and a PC (MS-DOS/Windows)
The Commodore Colt is both a personal computer and a PC (MS-DOS/Windows)
The Mac (pre x86 models including Lisa) is a personal computer but is not a PC

x86/x64 Macs are quite often Wintel PCs running OSX. Technically these Macs are PCs due to the Windows & Intel compatibility but share immunity to Windows viruses with Linux and other non Microsoft OSes due to incompatibility with Windows software. A Microsoft Windows OS is generally part of the PC definition today. Just as PC-DOS or a PC-DOS clone was a part of the definition prior to retirement of that OS.

They are perfectly correct in saying that Macintosh computers in general & OSX in particular do not support Windows viruses or malware. The differences in the operating systems requires Mac/OSX versions of the malware. The exceptions are web based attacks that target cross-platform flaws in 3rd party applications and do not inject OS specific code. These attacks technically are not Windows malware, so the statement that OSX is immune to Windows viruses by design remains correct :D

Of course the end users who are trying to figure out why Apple is recommending security fixes for malware couldn't care less for the careful parsing of the copy writers. All they care about is removing the OSX malware from their OSX system and patching the holes in 3rd party applications that allow platform agnostic web based attacks to succeed.

In addition to the "secure by design" and "immune to Windows malware" Apple has for years recommended and sold anti-virus software tailored for OSX malware in Apple stores. Ironic that a company marketing malware immune computers recommends anti-malware software to install on those same computers :P

RE: PC Virus?
By Ammohunt on 6/26/2012 2:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
WOW! the Computer museum curator answer...

RE: PC Virus?
By superstition on 6/26/2012 11:32:40 PM , Rating: 2
Or you can say it in one sentence.

Macs aren't affected by PC malware because "PC" is an inaccurate naming convention that refers to the IBM PC platform that began with the original IBM personal computer and continues to today's machines running Windows, as opposed to Mac software.

Immune to virus really ?
By armageddon51 on 6/25/12, Rating: -1
"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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