Sour Apples

Thursday April 5, 2012 at 3:23pm mac, malware, musings Comments (5) »
Sour Apples Image

As of a few days ago, a new iteration of an OSX trojan called Flashback emerged, and has apparently had much more success than previous attempts at infecting machines.  The most recent numbers I've read indicate ~600k, in fact.  My own machines were thankfully immune, owing to some specific applications I have installed that cause the trojan to opt to delete itself (rather than be discovered or stifled, presumably).  This version takes advantage of a Java hole, which Apple has now patched.  Other/previous versions pose as a Flash player installer.  (As an aside, if you're a Mac user, I recommend running Software Update to get the patch if you haven't already.  Also, see "the bottom line".)

Here is what I think is funny: the Mac-bashing that inevitably comes with this sort of thing.  Quips along the lines of "oh, you thought you were so cool and couldn't get viruses and stuff - not so tough now, are ya!?".

The reason this is amusing is that it comes off as desperate.  It kind of feels like the last-place team cheering when the first-place team finally loses a game.  I'm sure it's great, just don't look at the scoreboard.

When a new Windows virus/trojan/worm appears, I have heard (and have probably been) the occasional Mac (or linux) user intimating that they don't have to worry about it by virtue of their platform.  Yeah, it can be a bit of gloating, but it seems to lack the fervor or bitterness that this inverse possesses.  Also, at least from my point of view, any comment about Mac/Linux immunity in those cases is meant to be an argument for why a person should consider switching platforms.  I don't get that from these comments.  I don't think they're trying to get Mac users to switch (back) to Windows, they seem just to want to point out the flaws.  Spec in your brother's eye, and all that.

My "Windows Hate" has decreased a bit over the years.  Maybe that's because Windows has also improved "a bit" over the years.  I still don't like it, but that's mostly because it just seems to bog itself down after a while.  At least as far as XP.  I don't have as much experience with Windows 7.  I'm not going to talk about Vista.

Windows has its place.  Personally, I think that place is as a gaming rig or a machine for certain 3rd party applications a person might find essential that are Windows-only.  For more common uses (web, email, desktop office apps, etc) - or basically anything else - I'd always go with OSX or some flavor of Linux.  Of course, some people just want something cheap(ish), well-known and off-the-shelf - and I guess Windows fills that niche as well.  

(To tangent further, there is also something to the idea that, in our modern era of gizmos, more and more people don't really *need* an actual computer. If all you do is email/web/social media/etc type stuff, you're probably better suited to something like a tablet or even a smartphone.)

Also, I think Windows is kind of ugly, but that's just personal taste.  And probably an acquired one.

On the other side of that coin, I'd mention that, while I love my Macs, I'm not all that fond of Apple as a company, and I tend to be annoyed by the militant Apple/Mac fanboys of the world.  Yes, it's a spiffy product.  Calm down.  And stop acting cliquish and superior.  You're being a jerk.

Anyway, back to the malware topic.  

I'm pretty sure Apple has never claimed OSX is malware free.  They've said that Macs are immune to Windows malware, yes.  That's a bit of an obvious truth.  Microsoft could just as easily claim that their Windows systems are immune to Mac malware.  It's just that, in our world, that's significantly less impressive.  

They've probably also mentioned that OSX has built-in malware protection.  I'm honestly not sure how good it is, but I can say I've never had a problem.  They may point out that your likelihood of encountering malware is much lower on a Mac - which is still true, though it's clearly becoming less so.  Sadly, the erroneous idea that Macs are immune to malware probably comes from over-zealous Mac users who anecdotally have noticed that they never get the viruses and worms plaguing their Windows-using friends.  About the most you could say is that Apple has allowed people to believe they are safer than they actually are.

The bottom line is "pay attention".  You are quite literally your own worst enemy: a lot of malware that's out there for any platform is driven by social engineering - by tricking unsuspecting users into opening the door.  Don't just click 'ok'.  Even if it's never happened to you.  Even if you're behind a firewall.  Even if you have an antivirus program.  Even if you're on a Mac.  You may think these things are protecting you, but really, they're not - at least not completely.  You are not invulnerable.


Sam I Am?

Sunday August 20, 2006 at 9:45pm little kids, church, friends, work, gaming, mac Comments (3) »

This is Abby Grace. When asked about me by Ginger, she has said that I am:
A) Not scary.
B) Not weird.
C) Sam.

Apparently I am considered to be Sam because I also play guitar. I love little kids. They're so cute. Abby in particular. I'm kinda bummed now that they're going to a different church and I don't get to see them every week. We did get to see them today, however.

Today was our church picnic. Despite the dreariness of parts of the day, it was a lot of fun. Sam and I got in some good practice time, we all got to swim (in very cold water), had good food, and played a 2 hour game of Purple Ball. We are, in fact, the best Purple Ball players in East Tennessee.

The rest of this weekend has been pretty good too. Warren (boss-man) took me & Brandon out for breakfast on friday. Friday night we spent with Ginger and Tony playing mario party.

Saturday, my game (finally) continued as The Party attempted not to get themselves killed by some eel-people and discover why , how and by whom an underground town had been partially flooded. Fun and mayhem.

I've also been catching up with some out-of-state friends I haven't heard from in a while. I came across at least 3 people I hadn't emailed in ages when I imported my address book to my mac. It's been cool.


Up, Running and Named

Tuesday August 15, 2006 at 11:23am mac, names, thinking too much Comments (1) »

Well, I've had my new Mac up and running for about a week now. It has now proven itself to be the best, fastest, prettiest, most efficient, most easy to use machine I have ever owned - all without a single major headache. The most 'fighting' with it I've had to do is resolve a permissions issue to get dvd's to play. This took all of about 5 minutes - 4.5 to figure out the problem, about 30 seconds to open Disk Utility and fix it.

It has been given the name Hikaru (Angelic Layer) - which roughly ranslates to 'to shine, glitter, be bright'. Ooooh. Shiny.

The ipod nano that I got with it has been given the name Sumomo (Chobits) - after a small, portable character.

The portable harddrive Kevin gave me full of stuff for the mac has been named The Pensieve (Harry Potter). Seemed appropriate.

The printer has not been named. I really don't see a need to, but this has got me thinking about names and naming things - specifically, inanimate things.

So I've got to thinking - what merits a proper name? Any inanimate facsimile of something that would ordinarily be named can (and should) be named - things like dolls and stuffed animals. But what about other things?

Now, I don't name things nearly so prolifically as some of my friends (like guitars, bookbags, cars, etc), but I do like to have something to call some of my stuff besides 'the computer', etc. I've found that I name anything that has some interactive qualities to it - hence the computer and the ipod easily merit names. The portable harddrive interacts with my computer, which insists that it have something to be called by.

This leaves (at least) one additional question: why name things? I think there are several reasons we name things. One is that its easier to call something by a name. One is that its more fun and allows us to be creative. I will submit, however, that a third reason is social. Naming an object ascribes some measure of projected personality to the object. By surrounding ourselves with objects that have names (and thus personalities) psychologically deepens the interaction between the object and the person.

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

I'm sure I would think of my computer much differently If its name was Chaznar the Impailer. Of course, the computer would be exactly the same, but the way i perceive my interaction with it would change.

As always, there's a good chance i'm thinking too much about this.


Mac in the box

Sunday August 6, 2006 at 7:33am mac, food, service Comments (3) »

As of yesterday afternoon, i'm now officially a mac user.

Due to some supreme timing on the part of one Kevin Poorman, I was able to, for less than the price i had originally thought the computer would cost, get a 20-inch imac upgraded to 2gb of ram, an ipod nano and a canon printer plus about $280 in rebates - making the ipod free and the printer darn close. Total savings ends up around the $500 mark and i have a *sweet* machine. Yay for tax free weekends and cleverly simulated student discounts.

This will be great once i have time to set it up. As for now, its still in the box for another 12 hours since i'll be in Erwin all day.

Also, i highly recommend the Carolina Ale House in Durham if you're ever over there. The service is fantastic. We had no fewer at least 3 employees and 1 manager going out of their way to help and amuse us.