Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What Will Apple Do When the Malware Comes?

The link above is to a Larry Seltzer opinion piece at eWeek.com.

In it, he speculates that the Apple user community and indeed the company itself are ill-prepared to face an onslaught of malware, should one arise. The two pieces of malware discovered last week could be a passing hit and miss attack or the harbinger of things to come.

While it is true that the Mac OS X, along with Linux and all the other *nixes are much less prone to allow malicious software installations, it can happen and, as Seltzer notes, the Mac user community is ill-prepared to deal with it. Because the Mac user community feels so well protected, they may well be more easily "socially engineered" into running malicious code. I have a feeling that that speculation is about to be tested, as more and more malware appears for Macs (and other alternative operating systems).

Apple has traditionally not been very forthcoming on security issues and if they decide to maintain that silence, it is quite possible their users could be hung out to dry. Somehow, I don't think that will happen, but it is a possibility. I think that in the face of any real threat (meaning it has to be a lot worse than the two little examples of last week) Apple will step right up and inform their users so they can protect themselves.

There is anti-virus protection available for Macs (and the *nixes). I insist every machine on our network be equipped with it, regardless of operating system, if only to prevent infecting the Windows machines. (It just wouldn't look good if a client machine comes away from here infected with anything other than an inflated bill.)

All this is worth thinking about now, before the "stuff" hits the fan. I'll be getting a Mac soon, and running the Mac OS X on it (instead of Linux). I'll let you know how the anti-virus protection offerings from both proprietary outlets and ClamAV work on it.


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