Mac Defender

Categories: News
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Published on: May 25, 2011

The big IT news these days is the Mac Defender phishing scam infecting Apple computers. Apple at first refused to acknowledge the problem, but is now putting together a software update to combat the installed program.

And PC uses everywhere are rejoicing.

I totally understand the smugness. For years, PC users (including myself for a time) endured the “Ha ha Macs don’t have viruses” taunts from Mac users, and now’s their chance to throw it back in their faces. However, I have a few problems with this, and it has nothing to do with track records, product histories or semantic debates on whether or not this is truly a virus or social engineering.

First, it’s like saying “Yay, the hackers have won!” Yes, we knew this day would come as the userbase grew. Is that something we really want to celebrate? Maybe we should be turning this energy toward educating users and getting software engineers to be more pro-active in securing their products.

Second, it’s like saying “Yay, now your computer sucks as bad as mine!” Does anyone really win that debate? If your house gets robbed, and then your neighbor gets robbed two days later, would you go next door and laugh in their face?

Finally, justifying it by saying “Well, they were smug jerks first!” doesn’t hold water. PC users have been just as bad over the years, flaunting their access to video games and the affordability of their machines over Mac users. There are zealots on both sides. Pick your side and move on.

Personally, if I were really turned off by the Apple news, I’d just go back to Ubuntu. The benefit of being educated in all three OSes — Windows, OS X, and Linux — is I have real choice. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and I’d rank them in different orders for different needs.

But I can’t bring myself to be happy that the hackers are getting ahead.

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