For the most part, Mac users have little to worry about regarding viruses, spyware, and malware—the plagues of Windows PC users everywhere.
One of today’s headlines says the iPod has a virus. Really? A virus that could delete your music, infect your Mac or PC, ring up charges on the iTunes Store?
That would be an iPod virus worthy of a headline, or two, perhaps a CNBC story or a Dateline expose. Instead, it’s another little boy crying
. Virus. Again.
If there is something to believe in these days, it certainly isn’t the flashing neon of news headlines, online, on TV, or in print. The latest headline says a virus has been found which can infect iPods.
How many Mac users are there? 30-million? How many iPod users? Over 100-million. That’s a big target for virus makers who are not content with mere tens of millions of Mac users.
Kaspersky Lab says they have “discovered the first virus designed to infect iPod portable media players.” That’s news, right? Wrong. The only news here is Paul Harvey’s “the rest of the story.”
Like a good Labrador Retriever, CNet picked up the story, and, being the techno wizard journalists they are, reported it as an iPod virus—sort of.
You see, even CNet figured out that it wasn’t really a virus at all, but a new definition of a virus. How so, you ask? You gotta love the fine print in the news that comes from behind the former Iron Curtain. Kaspersky says:
So, you must install Linux on your iPod. Then, you have to find the virus and put it on your iPod, then run the virus. Got that?
This is what’s called a “proof of concept virus.” Translation: It could happen. When. Pigs. Fly.
This particular virus, which is unable to get onto your Linux infested iPod without your help, and cannot launch itself without your help, also doesn’t have a dangerous payload, or even a payload other than the message “You are infected with Oslo the first iPodLinux Virus.”
In other words, for the 100-million iPod owners, there is no threat from this so-called virus. Ever. For the 12 people who have Linux installed on their iPods, well, they’re on their own. It’s a cruel world, so cut ‘em loose.
I could create an AppleScript that would delete most files on your Mac. If I give it to you and tell you to run it on your Mac is it still a virus and a threat to Mac users?
What do we end up with today? A non-story about a non-event that’s sure to create a few iHeadlines and raise iBrows among the great unwashed iMasses who won’t know the truth. Why? Because, in this case, there was no real truth to report.
Why would Kaspersky even bother unless they’re trolling for hits to their web site, trying to make a name for themselves as the coolest of cool new security technoids from Russia, with love?
Why would modern news media even bother reporting this non-story of a non-event? Because “honesty and ethical standards” in media have eroded to new lows, and journalists who should know better don’t know better, let alone know how to dig for truth, justice, or the Appian Way.
Among noted journalists who write about technology, Walt Mossberg’s name comes up as one who knows Apple, Macs, Microsoft, Windows and is fair and accurate.
Name another independent voice of techno media in the same league. Name one that’s not.