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Apple Yanks Mac Virus Immunity Claims From Website 327

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-hard-to-be-humble dept.
redletterdave writes "Apple quietly switched out a statement that claimed its Mac computers were completely immune to viruses with a less-forward statement: 'It's built to be safe.' The PR shift comes in the aftermath of the Flashback Trojan, which affected hundreds of thousands of Macs back in early April. From the article: 'Apple strives for perfection, but stating something is perfect when it isn't is ultimately bad for PR and company morale. Jobs used his reality distortion field to "rally the troops," so to speak, but "Mountain Lion" will ensure Apple can tout its closed, highly-secure operating system for the foreseeable future in a much more realistic sense. Just because a product isn't impervious to sickness doesn't mean it isn't "insanely great."'"
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Apple Yanks Mac Virus Immunity Claims From Website

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  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:23PM (#40440815)

    Here are before and after images of the marketing text [macrumors.com].

    Also, contrary to the summary, it never claimed complete immunity to viruses, merely immunity to Windows viruses, which is, admittedly, a trivial and silly distinction to make, but I like playing the pedant.

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:33PM (#40440981)

    Immediately after it, they expanded on the statement you quoted with, "A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers," which you apparently neglected to read.

    Again though, as I said, I'm playing the pedant, since it's not much of a distinction.

  • by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:40PM (#40441079) Homepage
    Imagining a situation in which the analogy isn't perfect is easy; it's an analogy. If it were exactly like the actual situation then it wouldn't be an analogy, it would just be us talking about the actual situation. The point is that Macs aren't immune to viruses. There are probably browser-delivered Java viruses containing code for both Mac and Windows (although undoubtedly few of them, possibly just proof of concept, etc.) so the claim that "Macs are immune to Windows viruses" is less than truthful as well.
  • by amiga3D (567632) on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:45PM (#40441143)

    And Microsoft fanboys to think that MS invented windows.

  • by etresoft (698962) on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:45PM (#40441147)
    I think one of the reasons for the re-wording was to remove the word "viruses" since it so obviously confuses people who don't know the difference between viruses and trojans and think the handful of Mac malware in 12 years is equivalent to over 17,000,000 for Windows. Sorry, but market-share doesn't account for that discrepancy.
  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:55PM (#40441291) Homepage Journal

    No, it is correct that Windows is the only OS that can get a virus (and I'm not sure they still can get them). The International Business Times is a terrible source of tech news; wtf does an MBA know about computers?

    They show their ignorance when they state

    Microsoft had its Schadenfreude moment in early April, when a Russian antivirus company discovered that hundreds of thousands of Macs were infected with a variant of the Flashback trojan horse, which reportedly was able to exploit several vulnerabilities in Java, allowing itself to install onto the user's browser without any intervention or action on the user's part.

    They're confusing the Flashback Trojan with Trojan BackDoor.Flashback, which is a worm. Worms and trojans can and often do contain viruses (most of the boot sector viruses in the '80s and '90s were also trojans).

    The wiki article on this worm says "The trojan, however, will only infect the user visiting the infected web page, meaning other users on the computer are not infected unless their user accounts have been infected separately. This is due to the UNIX security system". NOT a virus. It has to be able to self-replicate and spread by itself to be a virus.

    Any computer can get a trojan, and Unix systems have been hit by worms (an example is the Morris worm [wikipedia.org] that almost took down the internet back in the '90s).

    Unix and its bretheren, like BSD, Linux, and Mac, were designed from the beginning to be for networked, multi-user machines. Windows was never designed from the ground up to be for network computers, and MS now pays the price. Apple was smart to move to a Unix-like system when internet access became normal.

    I just "fixed" an old "virus-laden" Dell last week that ran so slowly it would barely boot. But there were no worms or viruses, just useless memory-eating toolbars (I consider these to be malware, they do nothing or very little for the user and eat your performance for corporations' sake). It runs like a top now.

    Odd how Norton won't warn you about that kind of crap, which slows your computer down as badly as being on a botnet.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday June 25, 2012 @01:58PM (#40441331)

    The first OS X malware in the wild was in 2006 - a worm/trojan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_virus [wikipedia.org]

    As far as a true virus, in the sense that it infects a file and then replicates, is increasingly rare in Windows as well. In my experience, Trojans are by far the most common malware threat out there now - mostly because they rely on user stupidity/uneducation, which is something that is very difficult to patch.

  • Couldn't be sued (Score:5, Informative)

    by SilverJets (131916) on Monday June 25, 2012 @02:09PM (#40441519) Homepage

    Here is a link showing the before and after of the Apple web page in question.

    http://sophosnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/mac-osx-before-after.jpg [wordpress.com]

    I don't think they could be sued, there is no false advertising on their part. It blatantly states "A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers."

    That is a completely accurate statement. Mac OS X cannot be infected with a Windows virus.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:33PM (#40444787) Homepage

    I can explain it. It goes back to the very origin of the word "PC". PC was a term of IBM's computer based on the Intel 8088 (not a typo), which competed against the Apple II, Dec Rainbow, Commodore... It was an IBM brandname. Once the IBM Bios was cracked it got applied to IBM and the clone manufacturers who made "IBM compatible" or sometimes even "PC compatible" computers.

    The fact that PC was an abbreviation for "Personal Computer" doesn't really matter in the context of thinking of it as a proper noun.

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