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One in five Macs harboring Windows malware - report

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Windows malware is so prevalent that a new study has found it quietly present on 20 percent of Macs, dwarfing the number of Apple machines infected with actual OS X malware.

The details come from a sampling of users who downloaded the free Mac antivirus software from Sophos. Among the 100,000 Macs reviewed by the security firm, 20 percent of them were carrying one or more instances of Windows malware.

The firm noted that Windows malware on Macs will not cause any symptoms, unless users utilize Apple's Boot Camp software to run Windows in addition to OS X.

While one in five Macs were found to have Windows malware, just 2.7 percent of machines studied by Sophos were infected with malware specifically tailored to OS X. And nearly all of that malware ??75.1 percent ? came in just one form: "Flshplyr," a variant of the "Flashback" Trojan.

Sophos believes that Mac owners should be "a responsible member of society" and ensure that their system is not infected with any Windows malware. This could help to stop the spread of such software, even if its presence on a Mac has no effect on that user.

Sophos


As for Mac-specific malware, Apple's OS X operating system recently saw its greatest threat ever in the form of the Flashback Trojan. At its peak, the malware was estimated to have infected 600,000 Macs worldwide earlier this month.

Presence of the Trojan has since been limited after Apple released a Java update to rid machines of Flashback less than two weeks ago. In addition, for those who don't have Java installed and could be harboring a dormant version of the malware, Apple also issued a separate removal tool.

Flashback was first discovered by the security firm Intego last September. The software attempts to trick users into installing it by appearing as Adobe's Flash Player installer package.
post #2 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
The details come from… … Sophos.

 

Stopped taking it seriously right there.

 

 

Quote:

Sophos believes that Mac owners should be "a responsible member of society" and ensure that their system is not infected with any Windows malware.

 

I'll spread what I want to spread, thanks. Be it jams, jellies, or malware that can't hurt me.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #3 of 56

A Mac running Windows via Boot camp can become infected with Windows viruses. Is this supposed to be news to someone?

And I really wish they'd stop with the 600,000 figure. That has been shown to be a very questionable figure in the threads where it was discussed.

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post #4 of 56

“Infected?” Do they mean “sitting in your un-emptied spam mailbox”? Infected these Macs are not! It’s like saying one in five children have a rust problem because they got rained on today.

 

All that’s need to responsibly NOT pass on to your contacts an infected email attachment from some stranger is to NOT pass on to your contacts an infected email attachment from some stranger. Which you wouldn’t do anyway, even if you thought it was “harmless” junk mail.

post #5 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

A Mac running Windows via Boot camp can become infected with Windows viruses. Is this supposed to be news to someone?

 

How would malware on the mac partition affect the bootcamp partition?

 

I think someone wants to sell some anti-virus software.

post #6 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

 

And I really wish they'd stop with the 600,000 figure. That has been shown to be a very questionable figure in the threads where it was discussed.

 

Its funny how they don't mention that it only took 9 days for the "infection count" to drop to under 30k http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/04/19/kaspersky_says_mac_flashback_infections_have_dropped_to_30k.html

 

I think Apple is handling the problem pretty effectively and it highlights how quickly Mac users are patching their systems.

 

post #7 of 56

 

"One in five Macs are harboring Windows malware "

 

Sharing is caring! Spread the love! ;)

post #8 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

“Infected?” Do they mean “sitting in your un-emptied spam mailbox”? Infected these Macs are not! It’s like saying one in five children have a rust problem because they got rained on today.

 

All that’s need to responsibly NOT pass on to your contacts an infected email attachment from some stranger is to NOT pass on to your contacts an infected email attachment from some stranger. Which you wouldn’t do anyway, even if you thought it was “harmless” junk mail.

 


actaully it is those stupid .exe file that get downloading in the background when you sent to some stupid spam site. I kids Mac has tons of these .exe file in their download folder for Safari. These hacker website do not even bother to determine if it a PC that actually access their website. Not sure why Sophos care since there is no way for those file to get from your mac to a PC without that person actually sending them.

post #9 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by z3r0 View Post

 

"One in five Macs are harboring Windows malware "

 

Sharing is caring! Spread the love! ;)

 

Best comment ever in the recent life of the non-news stories of the Mac Trojans. 

post #10 of 56

Interesting crosscheck...

 

If the 600,000 figure is accurate (and, as suggested by the originator's, has not diminished substantially) and 2.7% of machines are infected with "Flshplyr" then providing "Flshplyr" comprises the vast majority of current "Flashback" infections, there are currently 22.2 million active MacOS X machines out there.

 

Since the current number of active Macs is closer to 80 million (four times as many as would be derived from the given infection stats) then the following is true:

 

"overestimation percentage of machines infected with 'Flshplyr'" times "overestimation of 600,000 infected Macs" equals approximately 4.

 

In other words, if the 600,000 number is accurate then the "Flshplyr" percentage infections should be closer to 0.8%.

 

(sticks neck out and awaits choppage)

post #11 of 56

lol @ "please don't infect our windows machines with your mac!"

 

No, actually I think I'll keep my mac infected... that way more windows machines will crash. I love the sound of windows crashing in the morning. lol.gif

post #12 of 56
What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)
post #13 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrail View Post

 

 

How would malware on the mac partition affect the bootcamp partition?

 

I think someone wants to sell some anti-virus software.

 

That's not what they said. They said that 1/5 of Macs have Windows Malware and that Boot camp is involved. I don't see anywhere that they said that the Mac side infected the Windows side.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by z3r0 View Post

 

 

Its funny how they don't mention that it only took 9 days for the "infection count" to drop to under 30k http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/04/19/kaspersky_says_mac_flashback_infections_have_dropped_to_30k.html

 

I think Apple is handling the problem pretty effectively and it highlights how quickly Mac users are patching their systems.

 

 

Either that or, far more likely, the numbers were bogus to begin with.

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post #14 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by oyaron View Post

What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)

 

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nyet. Nein. Nope. Don't. Bother.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #15 of 56

The scary thing is Boot Camp makes your Mac partitions readable to Windows by default (thankfully not writable, but still).

post #16 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I'll spread what I want to spread, thanks. Be it jams, jellies, or malware that can't hurt me.

 

How about Polio or HPV?

post #17 of 56

I hope Sophos paid for this advertisement.

post #18 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

 

 

That's not what they said. They said that 1/5 of Macs have Windows Malware and that Boot camp is involved. I don't see anywhere that they said that the Mac side infected the Windows side.

 

 

Either that or, far more likely, the numbers were bogus to begin with.

 

eh, naw..

 

What they said :

 

The firm noted that Windows malware on Macs will not cause any symptoms, unless users utilize Apple's Boot Camp software to run Windows in addition to OS X.

 

SO, if you utilise Bootcamp and you have windows malware somewhere on OSX you WILL be infected.  Thats a bit of a fucking leap, but its what they said.

 

Then they said


While one in five Macs were found to have Windows malware, just 2.7 percent of machines studied by Sophos were infected with malware specifically tailored to OS X. And nearly all of that malware ??75.1 percent ? came in just one form: "Flshplyr," a variant of the "Flashback" Trojan.

 

 

 

1 in 5 macs in the study apparently had windows malware on them, this has nothing to do with bootcamp.  They were stating, as per their original point that Mac users unknowingly were carrying windows malware, not that they were running it etc.

 

 

post #19 of 56

I don't care. I don't run Windows.

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post #20 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

“Infected?” Do they mean “sitting in your un-emptied spam mailbox”? Infected these Macs are not! It’s like saying one in five children have a rust problem because they got rained on today.

 

The comment is a bit of FUD because it implies that Windows malware can actually harm a Mac machine and it can't. It can only perhaps play carrier to the malware and spread it on to other machines. 

 

But here's my question. This information came from an anti-virus software company yes. So how do they know this. The answer to that would be that they can recognize windows malware even if it is merely incubating on a Mac machine. So why haven't they set up their software to find and remove it. They talk like it is there allowed to run free thanks to the stupid Mac users. but isn't the real fault that they haven't done anything with their software,which folks were 'responsible' enough to install. 

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #21 of 56

19301004.jpg

post #22 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

So why haven't they set up their software to find and remove it. They talk like it is there allowed to run free thanks to the stupid Mac users. but isn't the real fault that they haven't done anything with their software,which folks were 'responsible' enough to install. 

I run Sophos and they DO have their software setup to detect and remove treats that ONLY affect the Windows side. I see this at least a few times a week in the form of an email attachment (always an exe) on junk email. Sophos alerts me to the threat and as I have it set to automatically cleanup, it does so. I might add that Sophos must be set to remove threats automatically, but it will ALWAYS alert you to the problem.

david
post #23 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oyaron View Post

What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)

 

You have the right answer right there in your question!

post #24 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oyaron View Post

What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)

 

Some of us are forced by our employers' policies to run anti-virus software. Right now I'm running ClamXav because it's the least intrusive solution, and that "free" price tag doesn't hurt either. But I fear they're going to make me change to Symentec later this year. So much for system performance....

post #25 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

What they said :

 

The firm noted that Windows malware on Macs will not cause any symptoms, unless users utilize Apple's Boot Camp software to run Windows in addition to OS X.

 

SO, if you utilise Bootcamp and you have windows malware somewhere on OSX you WILL be infected.

 

 

This is NOT true. Unless you install some extra software, the Mac partition is READ-ONLY when running windows from bootcamp. So even if windows becomes hosed from downloading a virus, there is no possible way your Mac can become infected.

 

The only way I can think of that you can even actually infect a windows machine is if you download something on your mac that has a virus with it, and then you send it along to someone else via email or whatever. Which is essentially the same thing as if they downloaded the virus themselves. I don't see how the mac contributes to the problem. It's windows users that don't have protection that are at fault from bad downloads, NOT macs. The mac is a carrier, its not the source of the infection.

post #26 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oyaron View Post

What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nyet. Nein. Nope. Don't. Bother.

 

While I agree, I believe it is important to ensure your system isn't openly inviting malware.  There are a few ways that will help secure your Mac.

 

 

  • Ensure you have your system set to automatically perform Software Updates
  • Disable automatic Log in
  • Use long (minimum of 8 characters), complex (combinations of caps, numbers and special characters), unique passwords for each application or website (1Password for password management)
  • Do not use an Administrator account as your default account
  • If you use your Mac in a public location (your worksite) ensure you lock your computer when stepping away from your computer
  • Use FileVault to encrypt your data on your computer
  • Activate the Firewall (You may use a third party application to configure such as NoobProof)
  • Use a third party Firewall such as Little Snitch for very fine grain control
  • If you are concerned about privacy on the Internet use tracker blockers (AdBlock, Ghostery, Safari's Do Not Track option, Do Not Track Safari extension)
  • Deactivate the Safari setting "Open safes files after downloading" 
  • Activate "warn me when visiting fraudulent websites" in Safari (TrafficLight provides a third party option as a Safari extension)
  • Disable Java in Safari
  • Change the default SSID in your Wi-Fi settings and disable SSID broadcasting
  • Use WPA encryption for Wi-Fi rather than WEP
  • Disable or remove Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Disable Adobe Flash or use a Flash block plugin (Click to Flash)
  • If you are concerned about DNS spying, spoofing or man-in-the-middle attack use DNSCrypt
  • If you are seriously concerned about privacy on the Internet then use NetShade advanced proxy server for anonymous browsing 

Edited by MacBook Pro - 4/24/12 at 10:15am
post #27 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

 

 

eh, naw..

 

What they said :

 

The firm noted that Windows malware on Macs will not cause any symptoms, unless users utilize Apple's Boot Camp software to run Windows in addition to OS X.

 

SO, if you utilise Bootcamp and you have windows malware somewhere on OSX you WILL be infected.  Thats a bit of a fucking leap, but its what they said.

 

Then they said


While one in five Macs were found to have Windows malware, just 2.7 percent of machines studied by Sophos were infected with malware specifically tailored to OS X. And nearly all of that malware ??75.1 percent ? came in just one form: "Flshplyr," a variant of the "Flashback" Trojan.

 

 

 

1 in 5 macs in the study apparently had windows malware on them, this has nothing to do with bootcamp.  They were stating, as per their original point that Mac users unknowingly were carrying windows malware, not that they were running it etc.

 

 

 


I agree that this is oddly worded (if not outright illogical). Having said that, the situation is different if one were running Windows under Parallels or VMWare.

 

Also, although I am in the camp that savvy Mac users have little to worry about, I believe it is misleading to categorically inform others that some form of anti-malware protection is unnecessary. Sure, abstaining from questionable installation is very effective prevention (also true on Windows 7 systems, BTW). But some folks here take care of more than their own machines.  They cannot tell their company that the best corporate policy to malware protection is to stop being idiots. To continue taking or implying that stand is to mislead, IMO.

 

 

post #28 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oyaron View Post

What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nyet. Nein. Nope. Don't. Bother.

 

While I agree, I believe it is important to ensure your system isn't openly inviting malware.  There are a few ways that will help secure your Mac.

 

Ensure you have your system set to automatically perform Software Updates

Disable automatic Log in

Use long (minimum of 8 characters), complex (combinations of caps, numbers and special characters), unique passwords for each application or website (1Password is a great third party application)

If you use your Mac in a public location (your worksite) ensure you lock your computer when stepping away from your computer

Use FileVault to encrypt your data on your computer

Activate the Firewall (You may use a third party application to configure such as NoobProof)

Use a third party Firewall such as Little Snitch for very fine grain control

If you are concerned about privacy on the Internet use tracker blockers (AdBlock, Ghostery, Safari's Do Not Track option, Do Not Track Safari extension)

Deactivate the Safari setting "Open safes files after downloading" 

Activate "warn me when visiting fraudulent websites" in Safari (TrafficLight provides a third party option as a Safari extension)

If you are concerned about DNS spying, spoofing or man-in-the-middle attack use DNSCrypt

If you are seriously concerned about privacy on the Internet then use NetShade advanced proxy server for anonymous browsing 

 

Sheesh.  That's a lot.  Most Windows users don't need to do all that!

post #29 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

 

 

 

This is NOT true. Unless you install some extra software, the Mac partition is READ-ONLY when running windows from bootcamp. So even if windows becomes hosed from downloading a virus, there is no possible way your Mac can become infected.

 

The only way I can think of that you can even actually infect a windows machine is if you download something on your mac that has a virus with it, and then you send it along to someone else via email or whatever. Which is essentially the same thing as if they downloaded the virus themselves. I don't see how the mac contributes to the problem. It's windows users that don't have protection that are at fault from bad downloads, NOT macs. The mac is a carrier, its not the source of the infection.

 

After further reflection, I think that's what the article says. The Mac is a carrier. So if someone sends out an email which is infected with a Windows virus and one of the recipients is a Mac user, they can forward that email to other Windows users without becoming infected themselves.

 

Since that's what they article appears to be saying, I have to wonder what the big deal is. Are Macs supposed to magically remove all viruses - even those that don't infect them? If the Windows users are so concerned, they should take steps to ensure that their system is protected.

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post #30 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

Sheesh.  That's a lot.  Most Windows users don't need to do all that!

 

Which probably explains why there are so many millions of infected Windows computers out there.


Not to mention, that Mac users don't NEED to do that, either. It's just that if a Mac users wants to go out of his way to protect Windows users because they're so vulnerable to infection, those are the optional things that can be done. None of them is necessary.

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post #31 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

 

 

Which probably explains why there are so many millions of infected Windows computers out there.


Not to mention, that Mac users don't NEED to do that, either. It's just that if a Mac users wants to go out of his way to protect Windows users because they're so vulnerable to infection, those are the optional things that can be done. None of them is necessary.

 

 

Exactly.  I just happen to be extremely security conscious.  I enable virtually identical security settings on every customer's Microsoft Windows system.

 

  • The Wi-Fi recommendations apply to anyone using Wi-Fi.
  • As far as Adobe Flash and Java are concerned those products are riddled with vulnerabilities and use of such should be criminal.
  • Concerning firewalls, Microsoft Windows has built-in firewalls and many third party security applications provide additional firewalls.
  • DNSCrypt?  How many people use DNS encryption (other than me)?

Edited by MacBook Pro - 4/24/12 at 10:28am
post #32 of 56
How many layers of aluminum foil should my hat be made of in order to keep me safe?

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We've always been at war with Eastasia...

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post #33 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

 

 

Sheesh.  That's a lot.  Most Windows users don't need to do all that!

 

Correction:

 

Most Windows users don't need to do all that!

 

To be fair however, most OS X users don't do those things either. And yet, the percentage of infected Windows devices is much higher than the percentage of "infected" OS X devices.

 

However, replace the OS X specific names/terms with Windows relevant ones, and yes, they should ... they very, very should do every one of those things ... and then a few more. Then they'll only be a few orders of magnitude more likely [than OS X users] to have malicious software on their device(s).

post #34 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oyaron View Post

What anti-virus software do you all recommend? (or none?)

 

Sophos is actually pretty good anti-virus despite what you may read above.  Sophos is free and no one should ever *pay* for anti-virus that's for certain. 

 

*ALL* anti-virus companies subsist by spreading FUD a bout viruses and malware.  They have to to maintain their market.  If they don't scare folks with over the top stories about threats, no one would use their stuff. 

post #35 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

“Infected?” Do they mean “sitting in your un-emptied spam mailbox”? Infected these Macs are not! It’s like saying one in five children have a rust problem because they got rained on today.

 

All that’s need to responsibly NOT pass on to your contacts an infected email attachment from some stranger is to NOT pass on to your contacts an infected email attachment from some stranger. Which you wouldn’t do anyway, even if you thought it was “harmless” junk mail.

 

Or is it that their Windows partition is infected & Sophos found that malware on their NTFS partition.  That's hardly the same as the Mac being infected & is in fact no different than any other PC that is infected with malware.

 

There is no way for Macs to spread malware for Windows that I'm aware of, though if you run Office for Mac you can spread Windows viruses in documents without knowing.  

 

Malware doesn't replicate itself like a virus does, if you have it worst case is it's using your machine as a server & since it's Windows malware it's absurd to accuse Mac users who have it on their drive of spreading it.

post #36 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodGrief View Post

 

 

Correction:

 

Most Windows users don't need to do all that!

 

To be fair however, most OS X users don't do those things either. And yet, the percentage of infected Windows devices is much higher than the percentage of "infected" OS X devices.

 

However, replace the OS X specific names/terms with Windows relevant ones, and yes, they should ... they very, very should do every one of those things ... and then a few more. Then they'll only be a few orders of magnitude more likely [than OS X users] to have malicious software on their device(s).

 

 

What he is really saying is that Microsoft Windows lack a large number of security features since most of the list was simply activating or ensuring that a security setting is active.

 

So, Microsoft Windows security fails in these areas?:

 

  • Automatic software updates
  • Disk Encryption
  • Firewalls
  • Ads can't be blocked
  • No warnings when visiting (possibly) fraudulent websites
  • "Safe files" are automatically opened after downloading
  • Java can't be disabled
  • Adobe Flash can't be disabled
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader can't be disabled or removed
  • No option to use WPA rather than WEP
  • Use of proxy servers isn't allowed

 

This explains why I see so many customers with viruses on Microsoft Windows.  I probably wouldn't have a business today without all the vulnerabilities plaguing Microsoft Windows.

post #37 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

 

Sophos is actually pretty good anti-virus despite what you may read above.  Sophos is free and no one should ever *pay* for anti-virus that's for certain. 

 

*ALL* anti-virus companies subsist by spreading FUD a bout viruses and malware.  They have to to maintain their market.  If they don't scare folks with over the top stories about threats, no one would use their stuff. 

 

I don't think the issue of viruses & malware is overblown for PCs, I think it's actually quite serious.  It is overblown for Macs, though it's also under recognized by Apple so there is a lot of blame to go around.  Stopping malware completely will always be impossible so long as there are users who simply refuse to practice any caution when surfing the web.  Even with the new features of Mountain Lion restricting apps to appstore only or even allowing signed apps there will be people who throw caution to the wind and set it wide open so they can install that fun smiley faces app.  I've worked on people's computers who just clicked accept on any pop-up that came up without even glancing at it, I pretty much knew that I'd be back the next month to clean their computer off again.  You have to take every threat from the web very seriously, if you think you don't have time to exercise caution then you must be willing to admit to yourself you consider ID theft or data loss an acceptable risk.

post #38 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Sophos believes that Mac owners should be "a responsible member of society" and ensure that their system is not infected with any Windows malware.

 

This is a bunch of horseshit. If they want to provide Mac users with Windows malware detection free of charge, then great: I might consider it, but I have no need or want to subsidize the Windows environment (or buy unnecessary malware detection products). Microsoft needs to get their house in order and it's simply not my responsibility to gum up my system with their bogus crapware for the sake of alleviating issues that can't seem to fix themselves. Should I be running Amiga malware detection software too? Does Sophos believe that Windows users should go out and buy a Mac-specific malware detection suite also?

 

This is laughable.

post #39 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by z3r0 View Post

 

"One in five Macs are harboring Windows malware "

 

Sharing is caring! Spread the love! ;)

 

How old are you?

 

I might not like my neighbour's choice of car but I would not stand by and watch a gang of kids trash it.

 

On reflection, your suggestion is akin to phoning the kids and saying "hey my neighbour is out- why not swing by and trash his car whilst I watch you and get a hard on?"

 

Previously, I had assumed that crayon (signature) boy had been deprived of oxygen at birth, seemingly he is not the only one.... 

post #40 of 56

This is just sad... Trying to sell malware protection to Mac users for Windows malware... 

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