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:
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.