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Apr 05 2012

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Apple And The Flashback Trojan

 

The wires (ok – my wires) were all a flutter today over the fact that Apple computers were under threat from a major security virus

Before I get on and explain my take, let me be upfront – I think this is one more in a stupid frenzy of ‘news’ being pushed by the ‘nay sayers’ – akin to the ‘burning ipad 3s’, ‘antenagate’, the working conditons in China etc etc.

Now, I am not saying that this isn’t right and I do not want to minimize the problems of viruses – and absolutely believe that Apple users should be just as careful about monitoring their machines as PC users. Of course they should – but when national morning news is talking about it – well – I have to say – I ‘sit up’ – but then after listing for a minute I sit down again – what a bunch of malarky.

First – things as complicated as viruses and trojans and malware just can’t be explained to most people – period – let alone in early morning news sound bites – and certainly not before I’ve had my coffee !

Now – of course, I also sat up over burning iPads and Chinese working conditions – and then sat down hours later (iPads) – and months later (Working conditions) – but this one – hardly out of my seat before I was back down again.

My take ? This is a story in search of a problem.

I wrote this short piece after receiving an email where PCMag [ you know THE go to experts about all things Apple) (Check out this if you don't believe me) ], were chosen as the source of information relating to the problem. They highlighted and built up the case and the problem – but no fix explained. Why ? It is so easy. You provide a link – like this one ! (now how hard is that ?) Instead they chose to serve up a massive dose of paranoia.

I wrote this 8 hours ago – essentially providing info as to how to find out if you are compromised – and then – go download the software update – and yes – they should have made it available it earlier – but they didn’t – make THAT the story. Instead the focus was on a problem – be scared – be worried. The bogey man is coming to get you.

In that piece I put the numbers into perspective.

  • First – some data – I have no idea how many Apple computers there are in the world – but only 600,000 of them have been affected.
  • Second – there are estimates of 900 million to 1 billion computers in the world today. So, even if Apple had a 10% of ALL of them (they don’t by a long shot) – that means there are around 100 million Apple computers.
  • Lets say they are between 30 million and 100 million Apples on planet earth.
  • That means there are around 0.5 to 2 percent of ALL Apples estimated to have the virus.

Meanwhile – to offset our friends at PC Magazine – try OSX Daily …. who write :

We haven’t heard of or seen a single case of the Flashback infection on a Mac, but for the sake of optimal security we’re going to cover how to quickly check if a Mac is afflicted by Flashback trojan:

and

All in all this is nothing to freak out about, but it does serve as another reminder as to why it’s important to update system software as part of a general maintenance routine.

(BTW – I checked three macs and downloaded the software update this morning in less than 15 minutes – including finding the article, reading it and following the instructions – and no –  am not a tech dude – I just read and can follow instructions.)

Oh – and my thanks to BGR – who in the form of Zach Epstein also wrote a very carefully considered and balanced piece on the news – and where this posts image comes from.

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John is a customer facing businessman who delivers programmes to increase revenue and profit for large and small organizations in the USA and Europe by focusing on business transformation through the application of software and technology by working with people.

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Permanent link to this article: http://beyondbridges.net/2012/04/apple-and-the-flashback-trojan/

  • Kurtantonmaus

    I would think the condom company would hate that a virus shares the name.

  • http://twitter.com/tonyblass tonyblass

    Your advice about updating is important for all computer users.  It just hasn’t been as critical for Apple users for the past 30 years.  Apples basically don’t get viruses and, so far, it sounds like Macs still haven’t.  But even if they do, can I get a holla for 3 decades of safe sexy Macs?

    • http://www.beyondbridges.net/ John Philpin

      you can tony – you can !

  • Mcwright

    i have been using mac’s since the days of the Mac plus and the Mac SE :-)  that dates e to the early 80’s :-) I have never had a single virus issue, where as in my office I think about 100% of the PC’s have had to have major virus work done, even with firewalls etc.

    I’ll keep my Mac updated…but I am thankful for all the years of ease :-) Definately worth the money to be a mac-dude or dudette!

    • http://www.beyondbridges.net/ John Philpin

      even your name plays into you computer of choice :-)

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