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2756Re: [wpmac] CNN.com - Viruses catch up to the Mac - Apr 30, 2006

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  • Randy B. Singer
    May 1, 2006
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      villars@... said:

      >in case you haven't heard about this.

      That article was nothing but old news and a spreader of FUD (fear,
      uncertainty, and doubt). It was a Macintosh hit piece. Lets look a
      little closer to it:

      >-- Benjamin Daines was browsing the Web when he clicked on a series of
      >links that promised pictures of an unreleased update to his computer's
      >operating system.
      >Instead, a window opened on the screen and strange commands ran as if the
      >machine was under the control of someone -- or something -- else.
      >Daines was the victim of a computer virus.

      No he wasn't. Viruses are self-replicating. When he clicked on was a
      Trojan Horse. Unless someone intentionally sends you a Trojan Horse
      somehow, it can't spread. That's why Trojans are very rare. Once users
      find out about where a Trojan came from, folks avoid the source and the
      Trojan is usually pulled. Generally, you only encounter Trojans when you
      are doing things you shouldn't be doing anyhow, like downloading files on
      peer to peer networks (e.g. LimeWire),

      >He and at least one other person who clicked on the links were infected

      Wow! Maybe two people were infected by this Trojan! That *is* a concern.

      >what security experts call the first virus for Mac OS X...

      What "experts" call it a virus? There was no citation to one. Answer:
      none. It isn't a virus.

      The article goes on to talk about "vulnerabilities." Guess what? Nobody
      cares. Every computer has vulnerabilities, and new ones are found all
      the time. Ordinary users don't have to be concerned about potential
      vulnerabilities. By the time the bad guys get around to writing some
      malware to exploit a vulnerability, generally Apple has patched it.
      Apple is constantly issuing patches, that's why it is a good idea to keep
      your software updated.

      As long as Apple is keeping on top of security, nobody is going to try to
      write malware to take advantage of newly discovered vulnerabilities,
      because they would be wasting their time to do so.

      Now, are there Trojans out there that infect the Mac? Yes, about a half
      dozen of them. (But not a single OS X-specific virus!) What can you do
      about them? Well, you probably don't need to do anything about them,
      since they are very very rare. But if you are worried, just don't
      download software from unreliable sources. And if you are paranoid, you
      can install anti-viral software. But at this point it probably isn't

      Randy B. Singer
      Co-Author of: The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th and 6th editions)

      Routine OS X Maintenance and Generic Troubleshooting
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