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Why do Mac users think they are exempt from Spyware?

Posted by geeknews at 2:11 AM on October 19, 2005

I am not a prescribed Max expert but I do own a Mac Mini in which I utilize Firefox as the browser and I do get e-mail into an account that is only received on the Mac. A listener on my show called me out and said were is the evidence that Macs are susceptible to Spyware regarding a comment I made that basically said everyone needs to be careful including Mac users. All of us have seen various articles on the subject to include statements that the threat is growing, Honestly I don’t know if one Mac Spyware program even exist, but the thing that makes me really sit back and wonder is why do Mac owners think that their Operating System is hardened from any attack.

They do enjoy the benefits of not having to deal with viruses, spyware and trojans at the level of Windows users do, and it is likely because there is such a small percentage of actual Mac users in the world as compared to Windows users. But being a owner of a Mac I don’t think I would ever be bold enough to declare that the Mac is hardened from any attack.

In my personal opinion though is, that when a trojan or spyware program is released that targets Macs it will devastate the community because for such a long time people have been saying, and even to the point of taunting that the Mac is exempt. Thus Mac users will be sitting ducks, I wish ill upon no one, but I do not think I would be so bold as to say that nothing can penetrate the operating system. I will likely strike a nerve here, and I am sure devoted mac users will pile on me for suggesting that they could be vulnerable to spyware getting on their systems.

No Operating System that has ever been made to this date did not have a vulnerability or two or three or thousand.

To my faithful listener that called me out, I really hope nothing ever happens but I just cannot join the party and say it won’t

4 Comments

  1. From Kent at 6:08 am on October 19, 2005

    Todd, you raise a very valid point — no computer user should believe their system is foolproof.

    My issue with your statement is the blanket characterization that all Mac users think they are immune from spyware/adware/viruses. We don’t. There is probably a small group of Mac users (and vocal) that believe they are immune. On the opposite spectrum, there is probably a small group of users that believe Mac demise due to a virus is imminent. The rest of us are basic computing citizens that understand the dangers, take precautions, and simply enjoy using a Mac.

    I really enjoy your podcast — keep up the good work!

  2. From rainbowfly at 6:52 am on October 19, 2005

    Being a user of both pc and mac, I wouldn’t claim that mac users are exempt either. I agree, we do not have near the problems of pc users with viruses, spyware, etc, however there is always a first time. I have been using macs for 4 years now, am on my second ibook and I have never seen a virus, or spyware. I do my updates regularly and also keep virus protection up to date, just the same as with my pc. Taking the time to do these steps are much better than not, and then something happening, mac or pc. The focus should be protecting whatever data on whatever operating system you are using. It should just be a responsibility of any computer user, especially if you care about your data, I know I do.

  3. From applenews at 8:27 am on October 19, 2005

    I agree as well. I have yet (knock on wood) to ever get any spyware, viruses, anything of that sort. But just because I havn’t gotten any yet does not mean it wont happen. Just means the people who write those things have not done it on the mac yet. I keep my computer as safegarded as possible.

  4. From Surfbits at 4:05 pm on October 19, 2005

    Todd, Todd, Todd….
    Did you feel that you wanted to bring in a bunch of traffic to the site so the quickest method to do that was to trash the entire Mac community? I use both PC and Mac and I know that there will someday be a virus in the Mac community, not today, not yesterday, but maybe tomorrow. When that day comes we’ll see how the Mac community handles it. But until that time comes, running around yelling fire is not going to prove a thing.

    I currently spend hours each week updating, downloading and running anti-spyware software, antivirus software and adware removal programs on my office PC, it’s a good thing that my employer pays me to do the job that Microsoft should have done to begin with. When the time comes someday that there is an actual virus in the wild for my home Mac computer, I’ll give it a little of my time that I’ve been wasting all these years on my Office PC.