Apple has changed a headline message about virus vulnerability on its website. The Why you’ll love a Mac information page has changed. A call-out box headline that used to declare “It doesn’t get PC viruses.” now reads a much less punchy “It’s built to be safe.”
A wave of infections via the Flashback Trojan affected hundreds of thousands of Mac OS X users in April making the claim about not getting PC viruses untenable. This virus spread by masquerading as an Adobe Flash update and used a Java vulnerability to do it’s dirty work – attempting to profit from an advert click fraud racket. The malware spread was encouraged by a delay in security fixes filtering down from Apple, it took 8 weeks to make the Oracle Java software fix available through its own security update.
Old and new
In addition to the call-out box headline of “It doesn’t get PC viruses.” the security page also has had other statements doctored. Alongside the callout box the main body copy headline used to read “Safeguard your data. By doing nothing.” The following paragraph continued “With vitually no effort on your part, OS X defends against viruses and other malicious applications, or malware.” That introductory sentence now reads; “OS X is designed with powerful, advanced technologies that work hard to keep your Mac safe.”
Graham Cluley, a senior consultant at Sophos said “Mac malware is a reality these days, with regular users finding their computers are becoming infected. The problem may not be as significant as Windows malware, but it exists.” Also a recent analysis by Sophos, from April this year, of Macs which downloaded the free Sophos anti-virus scanner, found one in 36 to be infected with Mac OS X Malware. (And one in five to be harbouring PC malware!)
It’s sad to waste useful CPU cycles and electricity on running a virus checker but with the Mac’s gaining market share OS X has become a bigger, more lucrative target among virus writing criminals.
Below, in memory of the Mac’s lost virus immunity, are both the UK and Japanese versions of the Mac vs PC virus adverts.