Macs Being Targeted By Virus
For years, Apple fanboys and fangirls have proclaimed that Macs were “virus-proof,” though they never explained exactly why. PC (as in Windows-based PC) people, like myself, responded that it was simply because there were far more PCs than Macs, and since virus writers were out to cause as much havoc as they could, they targeted the larger operating system base.
And now, it looks like the Mac’s “immunity” to viruses has been shattered.
The computer security industry buzzed Thursday with warnings that more than a half-million Macintosh computers may have been infected with a virus targeting Apple machines.
Flashback Trojan malware tailored to slip past “Mac” defenses is a variation on viruses typically aimed at personal computers (PCs) powered by Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.
The infections, spotted “in the wild” by Finland-based computer security firm F-Secure and then quantified by Russian anti-virus program vendor Dr. Web, come as hackers increasingly take aim at Apple computers.
“All the stuff the bad guys have learned for doing attacks in the PC world is now starting to transition to the Mac world,” McAfee Labs director of threat intelligence Dave Marcus told AFP.
“Mac has said for a long time that they are not vulnerable to PC malware, which is true; they are vulnerable to Mac malware.”
What computer geeks have known for decades is that any operating system is vulnerable to malware that’s designed for it, as Marcus said above. The Mac line about not being vulnerable to PC malware is akin to saying that humans are not vulnerable to fish diseases; it completely ignores the point that humans are vulnerable to human diseases.
The Apple community (both employees and fans) have also likely done Apple users a great disservice by proclaiming their lack of vulnerability to PC malware, because many Mac users probably thought that they didn’t need any sort of anti-malware software because of the proclaimed lack of vulnerability. Those Mac users are now incredibly vulnerable to these malware attacks, whereas PC users are used to malware being out there and take appropriate steps to thwart it (even my new laptop came with anti-malware software already installed, though when the free trial ends I’ll likely switch it to my preferred brand). It’s also possible that the loud and long proclamations of “malware can’t attack Macs” spurred whoever wrote this Trojan Horse to do it, just to show that Macs are vulnerable.
Sorry, Apple fans… you’re just as vulnerable to malware as the rest of us.