Apple malware: 6 years of crying wolf


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

A collection of dire warnings from the past puts this week's alarms into perspective



Three days after ZDNet ran a piece entitled "Coming Soon to a Mac Near You: Serious Malware”: Daring Fireball's John Gruber has posted, under the headline "Wolf!" more than a dozen variations on the same theme.

They date back to 2004 and all sound a familiar warning: Apple (aapl), having achieved critical mass in the market place, is about to get hit by the same waves of viruses, worms, trojans and other species of malware that plague the world of Microsoft (msft) Windows.

Our favorite:

While Microsoft’s vulnerabilities might let intruders into the castle, Apple is giving them the keys to the kingdom and rolling out the welcome mat.

Apple also happens to make the world’s most popular music devices: iPods. Essentially large hard drives, they also have the potential to deliver all kinds of security threats into any environment, even Windows. Once a virus infiltrates the iPod, plug and play becomes plug and plague. Did anyone really believe the security nirvana for Apple would last? It’s now more vulnerable than ever, and things can only get worse.

-- Bob Johnson, CNet, May 2006: “Say Good-Bye to Apple Security?”:

You can read Gruber's full list here.

UPDATE: Ed Bott, who wrote the original ZDNet piece, has posted a long follow-up that's calm, fact-based and worth the read. See here.

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