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Gartner warns about Mac OS X spyware potential

updated 04:30 pm EST, Thu March 31, 2005

Mac OS X security warnings

Gartner has become latest firm to . Citing the possibility of a hybrid worm that could affect both Mac/PCs, the firm said that a single vulnerability may go unnoticed and could cause problems for the relatively small user base: "The Macintosh installed base is relatively small, with only about 3 percent of systems in use today running the Mac OS,' Reynolds wrote in a research note. 'The Mac OS is also a harder target...However, it only takes one exploited weakness to cause trouble," he added.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Gorloth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tweedle Dee Dweedle Dum

    Oh my Gawd the sky is falling

  1. macdude22

    Joined: Dec 1969


    1 or a million

    So, I'd rather take my chances with 1 "possible" exploit or virus than the hundreds, even thousands of exploits and viruses that are confirmed on the Windows platform, with more and more every day.

    These people make my point for me, even one exploit can cause trouble. Sure, and multiply that by 1000 and you get Windows.

  1. MPMoriarty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They make a good point...

    While I am not worried, the article had some good points. It only takes one really nasty worm or virus to cause a c*** load of problems on Mac OS X. Of course, it wouldn't be able to spread outside a user's home directory, but it would still be problematic.

    It is better to be prepared for these type of things rather than just hope they don't happen.

  1. exca1ibur

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Sounds more like Symantec is trying to create a market for virus and spyware protection software on the Mac, being they burned a lot of bridges with Norton in the past.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lousy points

    Their point is lousy because it makes no sense. I don't consider worms or viruses to be 'spyware'. Spyware is all that c*** you get when you make the mistake of using IE on Windows, that tracks where you go, and annoys you with pop-ups and such. But they say:
    He was also concerned that spyware targeting the Mac OS could establish itself before its existence was widely documented.

    Gee, just like Windows or any other OS. Until the existence of spyware is known, of course it could be problematic and hard to find. And how vigilant should we be. Is this like the "Look out for suspicious activity and report it to the FBI" that people were told to do after 9/11? Should we all be running packet-sniffers and memory scanners looking for anything that might not supposed to be there?

    The comment about a 'bybrid' worm is great, esp. if you read the article, where it actually says
    A hybrid worm targeting both the Mac OS and Microsoft Windows could be developed, but such an attack would be difficult to orchestrate," Reynolds said.

    Difficult to say the least. If its hybrid, it would have to be coded to target two completely different OS's AND platforms. That will only occur when "Virus/Worm Script Kit v3.0 (now with cross-platform support)" gets released so the script-kiddies can start sending them out. But at least they tell us up front that it COULD be possible. It also could be possible that I'll go home tonight and find an attractive woman making me dinner. But I don't think either is likely.

    Oh, and saying "One exploit could cause trouble" is so obvious, its stupid. Do these people believe people think that we're all out here going "Gee, one or two holes? Who cares. You need at least a dozen to have a problem!"

    Man, you know, I could work for Gartner (OK, I can't, I'd have quit by now for having to come out with statements that had a "duh!" factor of 10). But if it gets me that woman making me dinner....

  1. Rosyna

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I guess I should post this:

  1. addisonx

    Joined: Dec 1969



    1998 was the last time I got a Mac virus that affected me--remember the Autostart Worm?

  1. AllenHuffman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    1 of 3% of 1000s of 97%?

    Wasn't Autostart the one that also got out on a MacAddict CD?

    The math here astounds me. It talks about how small the user base is (3%) and that it would be harder to cause problems on a Mac, but it's still possible. That has to mean that with a huge 97% userbase, and really easy exploits, things are far worse. But, that's not news 'cause everyone knows that.

    It's like - if someone steals the radio from a convertable with the top down, that's not as big of a deal if someone breaks into a safety deposit box and steals the same radio, I guess ;-)


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Metal Umbrella

    Well technically, a gargoyle could fall off of a building and hit pedestrians walking below... so where do we sign up for the metal umbrellas? I'm not saying that it's not possible these companies could be right, but instead of working in the hypothetical - without any real world threat - come on - mac users have a little more sense than that. Give us an example and don't resort to scare tactics, that's just lame.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pure FUD!

    Sky is falling because it isn't? What kind of bullsh*t logic is that?

    Businesses who choose to run macs will stay on top of problems the same way they would any platform. It's not going to go hiddin for weeks because only 2% of the world is using it!

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