The Apple infection

Was Apple was being arrogant when it said Macs were immune to viruses?

Until recently Apple has marketed its computers as being immune to PC viruses. On the Apple website the page entitled ‘Why you’ll love a Mac’ used to say “A Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That’s thanks to built-in defences in Mac OS X that keep you safe without any work on your part.”

Apple has since had to remove this statement, as it is no longer true. The security of a Mac has long been a major selling point, but after more than half-a-million Macs were infected with the Flashback Trojan virus earlier this year, Apple has had to rethink its marketing.

Anti-virus software companies have stated that Mac security software sales have increased since the infection. Apple has also reported that it is building more security into the new operating system, Mountain Lion, which is scheduled to be released in the next few weeks.

Opinion—The arrogance of Apple

Macs don’t get viruses? What a ridiculous thing to say. Of course Macs get viruses. Apple may think it is all powerful, but a Mac is still a computer, and all computers can be virtually attacked.

There are a number of reasons why, until recently, Macs rarely became infected with viruses. The first is that Macs used to be comparatively rare. Nobody bothered to create a virus which would only affect a small number of computers. Then the iPod and the iPhone were introduced, and more people flocked to the Apple brand. So recently there has been more incentive for people to create viruses for Macs.

The second reason there has been so few viruses infecting Macs is that Apple is right. The system on which Mac software is based, Unix, is a lot more difficult to hack into than the Windows system. So to create a Mac virus a hacker has to work a heck of a lot harder, and the end result is they infect far fewer computers. It’s similar to choosing between robbing the till at a milk bar, or going out the back and cracking the safe knowing that there’s twice as much cash out the front.

But people will always enjoy a challenge, so although there are far fewer viruses out there for Macs, they do exist. This means it is just as important to purchase anti-virus software no matter what type of computer you own.

Find out what you can do to protect your Mac.

Love them or loathe them, Macs are becoming increasingly popular. Do you think Apple was being arrogant when it said they were immune to viruses?





    COMMENTS

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    downunder
    4th Jul 2012
    3:06pm
    MACs have always had viruses and infections just not as many as Windows. Why? simple - the vast majority are Windows users, so it is much more effective to write a virus for that OS. This has been a known fact, but then also the majority of MAC users think that perfume blows out of MAC's backside and are just to blasé to acknowledge. Now finally their nirvana will be crashing down after their own 'God' let them know: YES there are Apple viruses. Welcome to the real world
    Anonymous
    4th Jul 2012
    3:33pm
    Wow....do you work for Microsoft, no of course you don't. Your response reminds me of football hoodlums in the UK/Europe who are fanatical about their team and rather than enjoy the game, prefer to brawl.
    The good thing about Apple, for you, is that they have forced Microsoft to start being innovative and their latest software (Windows 8) is their own and really good and their new tablet, I am led to believe (reviews only read), is the first true competition to the iPad.
    So like Apple or dislike them, they have kept the computer/technology industry from stagnating.

    4th Jul 2012
    3:24pm
    No I don't think they were arrogant?!? If your product has a feature that the competitor is lacking then it is normal business to advertise that aspect.
    Apple built their own technology which has led to better technology and left competitors floundering (for awhile). It has even forced Microsoft to become innovative which is all good.
    They provide excellent service on their products - try an Apple store with their genius bars, free workshops and customer service. They have changed the way I, the consumer, are treated and I like it. Prior to Apple's reign, as a consumer, I was treated quite offhandedly, charged for every product problem and discounted.
    Apple offers a lot to consumers which is reflected in their stores being full of people all the time.
    In regard to viruses, what you say is basically true but you still have to 'accept' the virus into an Apple computer, so the con is getting you to actually instal it. In regard to their iPhone and iPad, they are so much more secure than others because iTunes vets every App, so that you can't download dodgy Apps.
    Apple's hardware is exceptional and has raised the bar for all competitors which is all good for consumers and their operating systems exceptional, particularly iPhone & iPad. They now need to get businesses to write business software that will be accepted on the Mac Computer and productivity items, such as Pages and Numbers, need to be overhauled and upgraded.

    So Apple have been made to remove a statement about viruses but tell me, when was the last time a virus on a computer made headlines. Over twenty years and Apple have just now had a virus attack. Somehow, I think they should be a touch arrogant about that - or is it pride in having a good product and excellent service.
    downunder
    4th Jul 2012
    4:03pm
    Good effort, Mussitate, but it only confirms what has been said:
    Most Apple fans are almost fanatics and for many it is a 'status symbol' to show the Apple on their laptop of phone. Fine with me, if that's the way - so be it, I will not follow and so are many others. Something to make you smile (maybe): If Apple would come up with the idea to sell uniquely numbered tattoos inked on the forehead of their followers, I guess ppl would line up the same way the now line up to get the first edition of a new product. One thing Apple is doing much better than anyone else, that is marketing and that is where it stops. BTW you are right I don't work for MS and never would, I am happily retired and tossing up at present what will be my new phone? Contenders are Samsung IIIs or iphone5 (if it does not take too long and is a substantial improvement over 4s)
    Anonymous
    4th Jul 2012
    7:44pm
    I don't like the 'status symbol' aspect either, if what you say is accurate. I just like a good product. I have worked with Windows in my business from dot one to 2007 and then took the big leap to Apple because of the continual problems and costs associated with Windows computing. I had a lot of trepidations but once I got used to the system, have never been happier.

    I run windows on my iMacs by creating a 'virtual' computer and it runs like a 'window' and I can go between the two, real time. I need Windows in order to run one of my (important) business programs that does not offer an OS alternative to Windows. The funny thing is that the Windows software ran better on the iMac than it did on my then Windows Laptop - less hiccups.

    Since the iPhone and iPad came out I now sync everything and can run my business from anywhere in Australia. It is so much easier now, so yes I do like Apple products but only because they are good and have made my life more mobile which gives me more downtime to enjoy life a little more.

    I don't know why so many people 'take down' Apple so much. They have taken our computing to the next level which is all good and of course we are all 'allowed' to CHOOSE if we want to participate or not.

    Apple as a corporation has presented the world with a different business model which puts the consumer and high standard of product to the forefront, rather than purely profit motive. This does not sit well with the 'status quo' corporations who have to now forfeit some of their profits to provide the same sort of standard. Hence, the continually slagging of Apple which seems to saturate media outlets.

    So, I am NOT a 'fanatic' I just enjoy the productivity and ease that I get out of Apple, they have a GOOD product. If the customer service and high standard of product deteriorates because Steve Jobs has gone, then I will look elsewhere.
    jarraby
    4th Jul 2012
    5:04pm
    It was either arrogance or wishful thinking to say no virus for Macs. MS didn't help themselves by leaving such huge gaps in IE - big enough to drive a Trojan Horse through, lol.

    Seriously though, when will we see protection for smart TV's which now have web browsers? It's all very well to say (as many are) that no-one would bother to target a TV because there's no end benefit. Many of the hackers are just malicious and have too much time on their hands. If they can cause trouble, they will!
    downunder
    4th Jul 2012
    5:07pm
    Well said, Tassie Devil
    smithjj
    4th Jul 2012
    5:56pm
    This isn't the first time that Lifechoices has given space to a commentator who has an obvious bias against Apple. Some time back this website published an article critical of Mac computers which contained factual errors and showed the writer had only a very superficial knowledge of these computers.
    On taking delivery of my iMac a few years ago the supporting documentation stated quite clearly that, although viruses were a rarity, there was no guarantee that these computers could not be infected and the use of anti-virus programmes was at the discretion of the user. Not much arrogance there that I can see.
    The same advice has frequently been aired on Mac forums, which I have visited over the last few years, by people who "downunder" has decided are fanatics. I still don't see where the arrogance comes in.
    What I do see from the blog writer and her supporters is a case of "chip on the shoulder", probably caused by the aggravation of making a bad choice of computer in the first place.
    Jayess
    Anonymous
    4th Jul 2012
    7:18pm
    Well that was put a lot better than my comment was and I always enjoy that. Plus your comment made me chuckle...thank you.
    Irishwolfhound
    5th Jul 2012
    2:27am
    Apple Mac is a far simpler computer to run. It almost does everything for you ! I had Windos until about ten years ago. Then I changed to a Mac and have not looked back since! No longer do you get the "blue screen of death" a simple key click and you can 'unfreeze' any thing. Simple boxes to type what you are looking for, instead of searching through hundreds of lines of gobble de gook. The only problems I have are like 'mussitate' I need Windows programmes for the Tax office, who will not get a Mac programme for its 'ETAX online' so you have no choice but to use Windows for that. The IE is very unreliable and will stop as often as it can ! But we get there. Older people who are contemplating getting a computer should look at a Mac first, simple, safe, and reliable.
    possum
    5th Jul 2012
    11:33pm
    I had my Apple Mac hacked into....it took Apple the best part of a day to untangle it!
    Irishwolfhound
    6th Jul 2012
    12:36am
    Hacking is not the same as getting a virus or Trojan. Any one can have their computer hacked if they disclose or let others know their passwords. If your firewall is not secure or you do not have one enabled then you are open to being hacked on either Windos or Macs.
    Michael Pearce
    6th Jul 2012
    5:59am
    I have always found apple an arrogant organisation and always have been. There current legal challenges which they invariably lose exemplifies this.
    I do not hid the fact that I wish to stamp out apple and applaud the forecasters who suggest they may no longer exist after 2016.
    In the early days of business computing the use of mackintosh computers especially by design and graphic staff cause many problems in business.
    I use pads, in my case a Samsung Galaxy 7.7 is my favorite but I have a 10.1 Galaxy and a windows pad. The Android OS does all I need when on the road.
    Being deaf I do not have a mobile phone so I cannot comment on i phones etc.


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