How Apple Handles Viruses

the rainbow connection of apple logo

As a recent convert to Mac, I truly enjoy the simplicity of our computers. When I say “convert” I also mean that literally. We went all out. I have an iMac, MacBook, and MacBook Pro in my house. 

With that many Macs in our house I try to keep up on the latest news. And any time Apple tells me to update my computers I do it right away. 

But I’ve also learned to read between the lines as I have a suspicion that Apple sees the release notes of their updates as public relations. Look how they describe how the latest security update fixes a hole in their software for a virus.

 A design issue exists in the Open Scripting Architecture libraries when determining whether to load scripting addition plugins into applications running with elevated privileges. Sending scripting addition commands to a privileged application may allow the execution of arbitrary code with those privileges. This update addresses the issue by not loading scripting addition plugins into applications running with system privileges. link

That’s all a lot of jargon. Let me translate. “Open Scripting Architecture allows hackers in.” And by sending out a fix it makes it pretty clear that somewhere a hacker has been exploiting Mac users. I don’t have evidence for that theory, but this statement would imply that.

A Prediction: Mac OSX will be in the news because of a major virus in the next 12 months. Here’s a few reasons why I say that:

#1 Mac users are arrogant about their operating system. They brag how their machines don’t have viruses. I’ve heard people say that Mac is immune to viruses. You’re telling me that Mac is absolutely perfect? Um, they send out updates all the time. And last time I checked it was a company run by fallible humans.

#2 Macs popularity has exploded. There are new users everywhere you look. It was said before that the reason Macs weren’t a target of viruses before was that they represented so few users. I’ve seen my web traffic increase from 3% in 2005 to 15% in 2008 from OSX. That’s a much larger target worth hitting. 

#3 Hackers are also arrogant. Believe me… there would be high 5’s all over hackerworld for a person who exploited Mac in a big way first. It’s a big huge target and someone is going to hit it. They know that a growing population of new users are the perfect targets because their ignorance and arrogance has made them lazy about security.

#4 Being a user and a fan makes you blind to reality. Apple has built such a strong brand that their fans vigorously defend the smallest slight towards their perceived perfection. You’ll notice Apple says very little and their fans talk endlessly. It’s a blessing and a curse for the computer maker if you ask me. Look, I have 3 of them in my house and I know they aren’t perfect. But don’t tell hardcore fans that. This is the perfect reason for a hacker to target Mac! Hackers will celebrate the crushed egos of Mac users.

With all that said I ran that security update and I’ll run all the updates Apple tells me. Let this be a reminder to my fellow users to run Time Machine often. 






2 responses to “How Apple Handles Viruses”

  1. Tim Schmoyer Avatar

    At least Apple actually releases updates on a regular basis, not the first Tuesday of every month like Microsoft. You could go several weeks on Windoze without a needed security update just because it’s still the middle of the month. Plus, it takes so long for them to test patches because of all the various hardware, drivers, and system configs. Apple controls the hardware and release patches much quicker.

  2. Josh Cook Avatar

    You may be right, but I heard similar predictions last year, and the year before that.

    I think two things are going to keep us relatively safe:

    1. Our stable OS (I think the open source kernel and the UNIX underpinings are an underrated advantage)

    2. While growing the Apple’s customer base is not large enough to be profitable. Generally hackers make malware to make money, and for that you need a huuuge user base. We’re just not there yet.

Leave a Reply