Friday, June 2

Viruses: PCs 14,000, Apple 0... until now...

14,000 viruses on PC...
Originally uploaded by bigyahu.
Yeah, but all the same, i'd be much happier if Apple didn't make that such a cocky selling point in their latest US marketing, including TVCs and online.

It all sounds very smug:

A Mac gets much of this out-of-the-box protection from its open source UNIX heritage. The most critical components of Mac OS X are open for review by a worldwide community of security experts. Their input helps Apple continually make Mac OS X ever more secure. And it’s simple to update a Mac with the latest advances.

Is it me, or is that a red flag to a bull? I's only true while you assume there's more people in the unix community working on security than there are working on cracking security.

An inflammatory statement or two from a computer company wanting to look cooler-than-thou might be all it takes to tip the balance the wrong way.

The other part of the claim is only true if you assume Apple's automated, easy security updates work as intended. My experience: Apple's updates are less problematic than Microsoft's but still hairy tarballs of stuff jammed together out of convenience, scantily-documented and often buggy.

A number of times I've had to roll back an update and wait for a fix to be posted, and I now wait a day or two before installing most of the updates I'm notified of, to watch the forums and see whether the latest patch introduces more problems than it solves. Enough people start doing that, and it leaves a window for hackers to strike and an installed base large enough to make it worth their time.

If you're going to boast, then at least use the language of your current core customer, not that of the lame Windows user - who the hell spells unix "UNIX" anymore? Makes it sound like a HAL9000. It's for people who still capitalise "Internet" and hyphenate "e-mail".

I'd be much more comfortable if Apple kept marketing to me rather than my lame friends, and I'd be even more comfortable if 'the virus thing' was just hinted at quietly, not broadcast like an air-raid klaxon. If that's the pitch, then please, Apple, do a better job of the security updates.

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