Friday, April 18, 2008

Has Google heard of the Macintosh?

From a Google blog post on malware:
Official Google Blog: Working together to fight malware

... Use anti-virus software. Most anti-virus software is specifically designed to find and remove harmful software on your computer. Be sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer (you can get a free trial through Google Pack if you don't), keep it current, and use it to run frequent full-system checks...
I don't know any OS X user running antivirus software; in any case it would cause far more problems than viruses have to date.

Clearly, someone needs to bring a Macintosh to Google's office. That's the problem with these big, slow, corporations, they're stuck in the 20th century.

Then Google could write something like this ...
Avoid Windows XP. We recommend Vista with anti-virus software if you want to invest in a brand new quad core 4GB 64 bit system with all new hardware, Desktop Linux, or any Macintosh.


Simon said...

hah! this is the first time I have seen Google being described as a "big, slow, corporation"... Google actually does have Macs but most of their corp computers there run Goobuntu (a customized linux distro based on Ubuntu). Google is clearly just writing these "warnings" for the masses of sheep out there, not for the 16% of people running Macs (who probably wouldn't need an antivirus even if there were viruses for Macs).

Anonymous said...

It also helps (if you are running
XP) to NOT run as an administrator, but as a limited user, or even turn on the guest account.

Microsoft and others in the industry are trying to spread the word, however most manufacturers still ship machines without "warnings or advice" to choose their account types wisely.

More should, but don't.

JGF said...

Great comments. It was fun to be able to tweak Google as "big and slow".

OS X works well as a non-admin user, but of course XP is very painful to use if you're not an admin.

Vista is in a tough spot, since it has to try to run all those XP apps that are very badly written and expect to "own" the machine.

Scot said...

But then if everyone purchased a Mac, there would be just as many vulnerabilities...

JGF said...

Scott, I think if OS X were the only target platform there'd be fewer vulnerabilities than XP, but more than Vista -- IF one ran as a non-admin user.

It's not that OS X has such great security, it's just that XP is very bad and OS X works very well when run as a non-admin.

Of course today OS X isn't a big target platform. I think there are 4 primary reasons for that:

1. OS X is more resistant than XP (though more vulnerable than Vista if you run Vista as non-admin).

2. The seriously criminal hackers live in nations where there are few OS X machines, and they're very expensive to purchase. (I think this is a big factor.)

3. Related to #2, there's a vast body of attack expertise for XP, very little for OS X.

4. The user base in the US is relatively small (though growing).

5. Controversially, the US user base for OS X may be less vulnerable than the XP user base. Serious hacking is about exploiting the vulnerable, OS X users are wealthier, more often with graduate degrees, and typically younger (hence less afflicted by early dementing processes).