May 8 2006
By now we’ve all seen either this story in The Seattle Times or one just like it somewhere else reporting on how McAfee is taking its claims that “the number of discoveries of vulnerabilities on the Macintosh platform has increased by about 200 percent in the past three years” and hopelessly linking it to the recent Apple TV ad “Get a Mac: Viruses” as if one had much of anything to do with the other.
Please people, especially the PC using public that is more likely to want to fall for this FUD, please, this is not that hard to figure out–read the following transcription from the Apple ad:
PC: No, no. Do not be a hero. Last year there were 114,000 known viruses for PCs
Mac: …for PCs, but not Macs
There you have it–that is the claim made by that particular commercial. It does not say that Macs are impervious to malicious attack. It does not say that they have no vulnerabilities. It merely states that of the 114,000 viruses that infected PCs last year, none of those infected Macs.
McAfee’s claims of there now being 143 known vulnerabilities on the Mac platform are not being contested or contradicted. But the differences between a “vulnerability” and a “virus” are as different as “rabbit season” and “duck season”… this is a classic FUD maneuver of taking one fact and comparing it to one to which it does not directly relate.
McAfee has an axe to grind and a product to sell. The new Apple ads may cause current Mac users to become overconfident and not feel the need for any anti-virus software and that, of course, troubles McAfee: fear and undermining the confidence of Mac users if the only way to sell their product since there truly are so few real threats to scare any of us into buying their software.
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