Thursday, October 19

Rip. Play. Infect?

First McDonalds ships an mp3 player carrying a Windows virus, now some units of Apple's iPod have been infected with a virus loaded on by an OEM doing the manufacture of the little white music machine.

So do we now add our portable music players to the long list of things we have to be wary about plugging into our computers? Unless you're a Mac owner, the answer is yes.

No matter how Apple tries to spin the story into a security issue for Microsoft, it's still Apple's OEM chain that is primarily at fault.

Still, the scariest thing for me is that the virus was included in the pristine, shrink-wrapped, new iPod during manufacture. Something about the psychology of viruses means I never consider brand new hardware as a potential source of viruses. A scuzzy, scarred and nearly-full iPod from one of my many phreaky friends? Sure, I'd think twice about that.

But a brand-new iPod fresh out of the shrinkwrap? That's as close to virginal and pure as a device can be! Handed down from on high! It just doesn't feel right to consider it a home to viruses. Which means all the more risk of bazillions of iPod users on Windows getting mass infections.

I believe the Apple community when it almost universally contends that OS X is virtually impregnable. But it's not my Mac I worry about.

Instead, I worry about what Apple might be forced to do to the iPod and iTunes to protect the bazillions of dumb-ass Windows users out there. Things like hard or soft copy-protection, stupid interruptions along the lines of "are you sure you want to sync your iPod now?" which you'd be forced to accept liability for, and further delays in getting more music labels and more artists selling their music on iTunes Store.

Ick. It all smells of additional cruft to me.

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