[ISN] Outrage at Symantec's OS X claims

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 - 23:21:05 PST


Dan Ilett
March 22, 2005

Symantec has sparked outrage by claiming on Monday that the operating
system OS X was set to come under increased hacking and malware

In its Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec said that Apple's
userbase was more likely to come under attack, citing Apple's growing
market share and the 37 vulnerabilities that were found in OS X last
year - a trend it hinted would continue.

But ZDNet UK readers have rebutted Symantec's claims in a series of
angry responses, saying the security company was using marketing
tactics of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) to fuel its sales.

"What a load of FUD," said one anonymous IT manager. "Anyone with the
smallest sense of knowledge about any of these operating systems knows
that the biggest issue with Windows security is the basic design flaws
that it keeps dragging on from its past eras, to ensure

Another furious reader, an anonymous editor, argued that OS X was
already a secure operating system.

"Total nonsense," he said. "Yes, of course, as OS X grows market share
it will come under more attack. It hardly takes a rocket scientist to
see that. But any idiot can see that an OS which requires [a] root
password before installing any software is inherently going to stop
more viruses than an OS like Windows which doesn't. Grow up and quit

Analyst group Frost & Sullivan and security company Trend Micro both
agreed with Symantec's argument that OSX will become a more tempting
target to hackers as its market share increases. But Laird Popkin, a
chief technical officer, accuses ZDNet of supporting scare tactics by
reporting these views.

"[I]t's somewhat pathetic that ZDNet bothered to 'print' this 'story'
since it's clearly self-serving fearmongering [sic] from Symantec,"  
wrote Popkin. "If they were journalists rather than a marketing
channel, they'd put this FUD in context."

But Symantec insists its claims are valid. In an emailed response, a
Symantec spokesperson wrote: "We've found that one of the recent
emerging security concerns is around Mac OS X. No Internet user,
regardless of which operating system they use, is 100 percent immune
from attack. People should not be scared, but they should make sure
they are secure."

Apple, though, did not respond to requests for comment.

Symantec's made its controversial comments in its Internet Security
Threat Report, which was released yesterday.

Bellua Cyber Security Asia 2005 -

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