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Apple drops Mac virus immunity claims

by Mark Tyson on 26 June 2012, 17:11

Tags: PC, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Sophos

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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.



HEXUS Forums :: 29 Comments

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Took 'em long enough.
These ads alone made me never want to go back to a mac -.-
Am I the only one who looked at the “Reasons…” and thought “Hang on a moment, Windows already does all/most of those things already…”
As above, took them long enough! In reality, OS X has never been virus-proof, it's just been a far less attractive target in the past. Also notice how they basically say Mac isn't susceptible to WINDOWS viruses - it's designed to mislead people into thinking Mac can't get viruses. Windows earned it's insecure reputation back on pre-SP2 XP days, but the rapid adoption of Internet connectivity supposedly took them by surprise. Still no excuse for some of the mistakes/features though. However, Windows is completely different today; it's a far more secure OS, arguably more so than Mac, not least because of the more arrogant Mac user attitude. A great deal, probably most, of the malware installed is through user incompetence, often after following ‘expert’ guides to disable UAC/update/etc. Of course, you get ‘experts’ for either OS, who easily match viruses for potential damage…
im just surprised they never got massive bills for this absurd false advertising, misleading customers into thinking they're 100% safe when they never were.. its like going down an alley way, the mugger has two choices mug the guy who looks rich or the little hobo… you will always go for the one that will reap the best rewards (money = user base…).

I must admit i am smiling at how bad Apple is doing at the minute, every other day theres news that somethings been changed or they have lost a court case! :D