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AppleCare Reps Told To Skirt Malware Questions 389

Posted by timothy
from the neither-confirm-nor-deny dept.
Dominare writes with this bit from ZDnet: "'A confidential internal Apple document tells the company's front-line support people how to handle customers who call about malware infections: Don't confirm or deny that an infection exists, and whatever you do, don't try to remove it.' So basically, now that Macs have their own equivalent to XP Antivirus the best you can hope for is to be pointed at the store where you can buy something that may or may not fix your problem ... nice."
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AppleCare Reps Told To Skirt Malware Questions

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  • in other words... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:05PM (#36185272)

    apple buries their heads in the sand just like most of their computer users....

  • Re:OSX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrnobo1024 (464702) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:06PM (#36185286)

    If you think Apple software is inherently secure, read up on some of the past Pwn2Own [wikipedia.org] contests.

    Don't kid yourself - the only reason OS X doesn't have much malware (yet) is that Windows is used by far more people and is therefore a juicier target.

  • Re:OSX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kitkoan (1719118) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:06PM (#36185296)

    if you use Windows you get infected just by connecting to the internet. I've never had such experience with my Mac.

    I've never had such experience with my Windows box nor have millions of other Windows users. If they did, they would leave Windows by the millions a day looking to either OSX or word of Linux would spread like wildfire (like Facebook did for millions of people).

  • Re:OSX (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:09PM (#36185318)

    Yup. And Linux's dominant market share in the server space means that it's an even juicier target. Which is why you hear about so many pwnt Linux boxes on the web.

  • by mirix (1649853) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:14PM (#36185392)

    Certainly the best way to deal with a problem is to deny that it exists altogether. I guess so long as people have faith that a mac is somehow immune (be it to actual virii or user error induced malware installs), and they keep selling, that's all that matters.

    Steve must have been taking lessons from some govn't agencies.

  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:27PM (#36185528)

    I'll never understand why people like you spread so much FUD. I mean if you don't like Windows - don't use it. Why make stuff up? And if you make stuff up at least make it logical.

  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <slashdot@NOspam.pudge.net> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:31PM (#36185572) Homepage Journal

    Apple employees are directed to not help you fix a problem with a bad application you chose to install AND chose to give root privs to.

    And ... ?

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @06:41PM (#36185690)
    And if you RTFA, you'll find that Apple and MS do the same damned thing: Tell the user to get some antimalware software to get it out.
  • by OffbeatAdam (960706) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:06PM (#36185950)

    Apple is trying to protect themselves from becoming a helpdesk, which is something they are not. They are very clear about this. The Genius Bar is also, very clear about this. They are not a help desk, and in advanced cases support comes at a price. Just as apple is not on the other side of the phone to teach you what each keyboard shortcut does, they're not there to fix every little computer problem you have. You can't call apple if you delete a photo, and all the same you can't call apple if you clicked a link and had your system violated.

    The major problem is that we now have to recognize exactly what this means. This does not mean that the mac is more or less vulnerable, because it's not - it is exactly as vulnerable as it was before. The problem is that as the total users of Apple computers grows, the ratio of of (minority) secure users to (majority) vulnerable users grows in distance. As the Apple becomes more popular, the chance of the user interacting with the system is likely to follow a malicious link, open a malicious email, or fall for a malicious ad, is greater; there is a higher chance that this user is the type of user interacting with the system, as these are the most common users on the internet.

    This is a trend that was not witnessed with PCs, as by the time Malware became a heavy component of the PC/Internet world, PCs had penetrated every aspect of the general public. Mom and little brother would follow any link to their hearts content, would want to help the Nigerian Prince, and would feel obligated to save the Penguins of North Africa. Apple has now begun penetrating this market as well, and it can only be assumed that the same ignorance will also affect the Apple community.

    You can secure a computer all you want, it's very difficult to keep most people from clicking the latest joke link and falling for any one of the thousands of ads they'll see in a 5 minute time period. The only perfect solution, is to not let them on the computer at all.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yodleboy (982200) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:49PM (#36186388)
    you guys are great. Mac folks praise the hand holding and the fact that a Mac just won't let you do anything bad. Then in the same breath they say, well you're just stupid, it's your fault the hand holding, infallible Mac didn't stop you.

    Mac, the computer any stupid user can use, but don't come crying when you do something stupid. Despite the fact that we reassured you constantly that your own stupidity wasn't a problem, of course...

    Can you guys just make up your minds? Is it the computer for everyman or just the tool of a bunch of elitist trend followers whose idea of "choice" is a locked down platform?
  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @07:57PM (#36186468)

    Except this isn't a virus. It's a Trojan. It cannot spread/replicate itself, and it cannot infect a Mac unless you willingly install it by giving it your admin password. If you don't know the difference between the two, then you probably shouldn't be posting here.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <slashdot@NOspam.pudge.net> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:10PM (#36186564) Homepage Journal

    you guys are great.

    Thanks!

    Mac folks praise the hand holding and the fact that a Mac just won't let you do anything bad.

    Dude, I live on the command line in my Mac. Won't let me do anything bad? On what planet?

    Then in the same breath they say, well you're just stupid, it's your fault the hand holding, infallible Mac didn't stop you.

    Nope: I say that on any platform that DOES give you the freedom Mac OS X gives you, this is literally unavoidable (well, except by being knowledgable enough to not do stupid things like installing rogue software and giving it root privs).

    Can you guys just make up your minds?

    Can you stop shooting down straw men?

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:23PM (#36186668)

    Not at all, but look at the headline, and compare it to the actual content. While he does indicate in the article itself that Apple's stance on this is "ongoing investigation", he jumps right to the punchline and cherry picks some nice juicy bits out.

    If he "likes windows and writes about it" then he sure does like his negative Apple stories too. Funny that - pro MS, anti-Apple... Now, I'm not accusing him of being a shill - I think the word is thrown around far too frequently and cynically around here (and note, I did not call him so in my OP), but there's not much positive coming from him on OS X, and plenty negative. One might suggest if he's that unhappy with OS X that he simply stop using it, or reporting on it, but those ad impressions are all important for the people who pay him I guess.

    I've got no problem with positive MS writers, goodness I even know people who work for the small, Redmond-based software startup, but there's lately been an undertow of "sensationalise anything negative about Apple" in the tech press of late, this being one of those occasions (of course, alongside the usual tiresome Apple gadget hype, but when is that new?).

  • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:09PM (#36187056)

    Apple has NEVER denied that any computer, including it's own, is potentially vulnerable to exploits. Their position is the same as it's always been ... users should take appropriate precautions. At times in the past they've offered for free commercial anti-virus apps as part of AppleCare and DotMac. Current users should download Sophos Antivirus for Mac. It's free.

    So Apple have never said Mac's don't get viruses.

    Even if that is true, they've inferred it plenty of times. I remember these ad's where they had one guy acting as a Mac and the other acting as a PC when only the PC got sick...

    That is pretty much saying Mac's don't get viruses.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 20, 2011 @09:18AM (#36190796)

    No matter how much you shout, there is no infection. This isn't a virus. It's a application which a user has downloaded and installed from the internet. It does 2 things:

    1) Pops up messages asking for money on false pretenses.
    2) Pops up browser windows with porn.

    Continued use of a system with this application installed will not "infect" other systems. It's not a virus.

    Continued use of a system with this application installed won't do any damage to the computer or it's data.

    Apple care isn't a malware advice, diagnosis or removal service. If a user (who has installed this application) is too clueless to find the solution to his problem on the internet, then he needs to pay a techie who does offer that service.

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