Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle seems to think Mac users need malware protection. He’s right. Mac users need protection more than the Mac itself.
So, what’s malware? What kind of protection? That’s where Silverman’s ridiculous recommendation makes me want to pull my neighbor’s hair out.
By way of a generalized definition, malware can be defined as any software which causes malicious harm to your computer (like Adobe Creative Suite 4). Windows PC users are fully aware that malware exists and works.
How else do you explain the whole ecosystem of security and protection software for Windows PC users?
Dwight rightly suggests that one of the reasons Windows PC users switch to the Mac is “to escape the constant onslaught of malware.” He also rightly says that “Viruses, Trojans and spyware are a constant threat to the Windows ecosystem.”
Threat? Malware is what makes Windows so attractive, right? No, it’s the other way around. Windows attracts malware.
Then Dwight coughs up the hair ball of market share. Malware writers don’t target the Mac because market share is so small, Windows’ share is so big—totally forgetting that Mac OS X is more secure than any version of Windows.
The common knowledge is that malware for Macs will increase correspondingly as market share increases—except that hasn’t happened. Still safe after all these years—no spyware and no viruses in the wild for Mac users.
So, if you’re so safe on a Mac why does this guy recommend protection? And what of the infamous trojan horse software which causes so much grief in the Windows PC world?
A trojan horse differs from spyware and virus malware. You have to knowingly install a trojan horse malware on your Mac. If I wrote a little script that would erase your hard drive and sent it to you, and you installed it and ran it and it erased your hard drive, that would be malware, specifically a trojan horse.
The problem there isn’t the Mac or a Windows PC. It’s the user. Dwight talks about malware protection and then offers suggestions on virus protection software; almost as if he gets a commission from the virus protection software developers who cry wolf every month.
Before you run out and buy protection from malicious software consider what else Dwight says: “Whether iAntiVirus is effective, I can’t say. I’ve not run into any Mac malware, so I can only presume it would catch something.”
Hello? Logic Alert #27!! The Idiot Statement wire has been tripped. He’s recommending malware protection software, specifically for viruses, but admits there is no reason to buy it, install it, fret over it.
That’s tech journalism, 2008.
First things first. Your Mac comes with a number of very potent protection layers already built in. The application firewall. The firewall. And permissions. While it’s not impossible for malware to crack that trio, it sure doesn’t happen often. As in hardly ever and mostly never.
What cracks first? You or your Mac? Mac OS X is only as secure and safe as the user, so if you take proper precautions (don’t visit porn web sites which exploit vulnerabilities on older Macs) you’re automatically safe from virus ware and spyware.
Will there one day be a massive outbreak of malware for the Mac? It’s possible. But there’s already a massive outbreak of new Mac uses who think they need malware protection—viruses, 007 spyware, trojan horsies—when they don’t.
Why? There’s nothing to protect against except fear and fear mongering.