Yesterday I spent a happy morning piecing together a story for eWeek, on a malicious script which has been found lurking around the Internet. The script itself is, as my story made clear, not a true virus and it poses little threat. In order to progagate, you need to tell it your Admin password – although to run it, you don’t.
As is usual, I checked the story this morning for comments, and I find this one, from a certain “martincase”:
I went and looked at that script and it really does pose a threat to anyone STUPID ENOUGH to ignore the 100 or so lines of comments that tell the user EXACTLY WHAT THE SCRIPT DOES and to then go ahead and download it, run it and give it your ADMIN PASSWORD. It’s a good thing we have irresponsible journalists like you to alert us all to the danger of running this script on our computers! What’s your next big story? APPLE’S MAC OS X INCLUDES TRASH CAN – USERS “AFRAID FOR THEIR DATA” Any reporters interested in actually looking at the script before writing about it could follow the link from the original macintouch.com post like I did.
Well, excuse me for breathing. I replied with something accurate and measured, when to be honest what I wanted to do was write “Hey, Martin, how about you read the story before you vent? And how about you meet some users in the real world, who will happily click on anything labelled ‘Britney Spears – NUDE!’? And while you’re at it, how about you learn a bit about security? And talk to your doctor about Prozac, because my friend you REALLY need to CALM DOWN AND STOP USING CAPS!!”
There’s a certain kind of arrogant, dumb computer user who thinks that everyone in the world can read a shell script and understand what it’s doing. Combine this with the kind of stupidity that makes you think that because it’s running Unix it’s automatically secure, and you have a problem. Add in a measure of Apple fanaticism, and you have a recipe for complacency and, sooner or later, disaster. Macs ARE more secure than Windows out of the box. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have malware written for them, and sooner or later someone is going to package up something nasty. And because people like “martincase” are mouthing off telling their friends that Macs are immune to malware, Mac users who listen to the fanboys are going to get hit, badly.
Ain’t blogging great? Not only can bozo’s like “martincase” have their say, we journalists can have our say back!