Coffeehouse Thread

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Apple really screwed up this time.

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  • User profile image
    Ray7

    How fan denial works down the years:

    We are immune to viruses --> We don't have viruses on the platform --> There are viruses but none of them are in the wild --> That wasn't a virus, it was malware.

    The distinction between a virus and malware has always been just word play in my opinion. From what I've read over the years, most viruses seem benign, while a lot of malware can actually do you serious financial damage.

    Anyway, the Mac community woke up a few days back with the news that 600,000 Macs were hit by a drive-by trojan based on an unpatched Java flaw.

    Unpatched on the Mac at least. Because Oracle fixed the flaw in February, but Apple didn't bother to do anything about it until last week, when the press (quite rightly) gave them an online spanking.

    Now we're hearing a lot of nonsense from the apologists, none of which really holds water:

    1/. This isn't Apple's fault. It's a Java problem.

    No, Apple took on the responsibility for this when they refused to use Sun's JDK years ago. They should have patched it in February when the flaw was discovered.

    2/. It can't affect your OS unless you enter your admin password.

    True, but who cares about the OS? I can get that reinstalled in about 15 minutes. The trojan will install and run from your user space without a password, which makes it a drive-by. Most malware installations are not interested in the OS; they're interested in your personal information, and where does that live?

    3/. So? Just install the patch and shut up!

    Well, the patch is all well and good, but it doesn't actually fix a machine that is already infected. Apple (of course) hasn't bothered to relay that tiny detail to its user base. Why? Well, I imagine that they're having a hard time wording the phrase "You might need anti-virus software" so that it sounds like a good thing.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Well, that means, Mac is actually worth marking the virus/malware now. It is actually a good news. The fun part is, out of those 600,000 Macs got infected, probably only 1% of them actually running Java software. Tongue Out  I am actually not joking. 1% is probably too high as well.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    brich

    The Flashback removal instructions are but a google search click away, and unchecking Java in Safari, Firefox, etc. is trivial. But Apple does need to step it up at this point because many of their newer customers come from years of experience with Windows malware. I believe, however, that Apple never claimed that the Mac was impervious to viruses....just not vulnerable to the crap infecting Windows machines.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    @brich: I'm not sure if they've out and out said it, but they've certainly spent many years heavily implying that viruses were something only Windows users needed to worry about. And as a result they've now got a platform ripe for exploitation, since the vast majority of users won't have any kind of antivirus solution at all.

  • User profile image
    Harlequin

    They don't say "we never get viruses"...but they imply.

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    This is a non-issue. People that use Macs don't run AV software. If you don't run AV software, you'll never know about the malware. So what's the problem?

    [/sarcasm]

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    I've said for years that it was only a matter of market share before Macs were attacked. It's not surprising that Apple's grand strategy of being impervious to viruses was based on implications rather than an actual plan. It's all about marketing until somebody gets hurt, right?

    They are getting what they deserved. Sadly I doubt this one incident will do much damage to Apple's reputation. People like to feel better than everyone else and Apple gives them a forum to do that in.

     

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    Ray7

    @Harlequin: Heh.

    What the PC fella said was that are 114,000 known viruses for PCs. The smug bloke in the hoody said 'not Macs'.

    So they didn't say anything that was untrue. But the implication was enough for the UK watchdog to ban the commercial.

    The Flashback is an interesting case because it's a cross-platform exploit, and for all we know more than 600,000 PCs may have it. The point is, MS/Oracle made sure they did whatever they could to prevent it from taking hold. Apple did not.

    No operating system is impervious, but the most secure ones are those whose stakeholders take security threats seriously. Apple is clearly not that kind of stakeholder.

  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    To Apple, a malware issue is a PR problem, not a technical problem.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    I screwed up my dads mac some 15 years ago.

    I installed a game that was written for system 6 English on 6.2 Dutch, I got a nice bomb and an Okay button.

    I hid in the closet for days, my dad was like; 'meh', where are the install floppies?

    That was the day when I decided when I have kids of my own, no matter how expensive the item is that they break, I will never ever get mad at them. I would like to encourage their curiosity, not limit it.

    I installed a second tuner card in my mediacenter the other day with my son, who is two and a half. I let him screw it in, whenever he sees a screw now, his eyes twinkle and mine water Crying .

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    , Maddus Mattus wrote

    I installed a second tuner card in my mediacenter the other day with my son, who is two and a half. I let him screw it in, whenever he sees a screw now, his eyes twinkle and mine water Crying .

    My mom used to tell me that whenever my dad was doing something technical I would watch him close while drool was coming out of my mouth.

    Now that your son is ready, you have to get him Lego Technic.

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    @ZippyV: pieces are a bit to small, don't want to go up his nose with pliers. Wink

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , BitFlipper wrote

    To Apple, a malware issue is a PR problem, not a technical problem.

    Indeed.

    They've fixed the problem, but what about the 600,00 Macs still infected?

     

  • User profile image
    brich

    , AndyC wrote

    @brich: I'm not sure if they've out and out said it, but they've certainly spent many years heavily implying that viruses were something only Windows users needed to worry about. And as a result they've now got a platform ripe for exploitation, since the vast majority of users won't have any kind of antivirus solution at all.

    Historically, Apple was on sound factual footing with their marketing implications. Those of us who have been running Intego VirusBarrier for a year or more have been innoculated against Flashback and its many variants. I think any user who is not brain dead needs to pay attention to any malware threat that doesn't require authentication to install. Apple should come up with a solution as slick as MSE...that would be a useful step now.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , brich wrote

    *snip*

    Historically, Apple was on sound factual footing with their marketing implications. Those of us who have been running Intego VirusBarrier for a year or more have been innoculated against Flashback and its many variants. I think any user who is not brain dead needs to pay attention to any malware threat that doesn't require authentication to install. Apple should come up with a solution as slick as MSE...that would be a useful step now.

    How do you find Intego VirusBariier? Any good?

     

  • User profile image
    brich

    , Ray7 wrote

    *snip*

    How do you find Intego VirusBariier? Any good?

     

    Not free, but it works well for me in OSX Lion....good interface and they have a useful security blog as well:

    http://www.intego.com/mac-security-blog/

    They also have a useful iPhone scanner app.

  • User profile image
    joechung
  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    I know market valuations are pretty tentative at the best of times, but at close of play today, Apple was worth $600bn, compared with a $260bn Microsoft.

    Sounds to me like Apple are doing OK.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17669078

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