Symantec’s Baseless Scare Tactics [Updated]

According to Symantec—maker of Norton Anti-Virus and Firewall for Mac—hacker attacks on Mac OS X are ‘on the rise’ (Reuters via The Washington Post [no longer available]).

Bull. Utter lies and bull.

I’m sorry, but the fact that there has not been a single virus or verified hacking on a patched Mac OS X system in over five years is not an ignorable fact; and that the Mac has a small market share does not negate the fact that OS X is a more secure operating system than Windows by a factor of 1,000. There may be a Mac virus or security failure in the future (it is surely not impossible), but Symantec is hardly an unbiased observer and their word on the matter is effectively worthless.

Think about it: Symantec makes Norton Anti-Virus and Norton Firewall for Mac. Most Mac users are smart enough to know that their computers don’t need an anti-virus and they have a very good firewall built in! No surprise, but Symantec would like to convince us that we are in dire need of additional protection.

Symantec actually makes a suite of utilities available for Mac OS X (much like their suites for Windows). They have a disk utility, defragger, firewall, and the anti-virus. Well, Norton’s disk utility is renowned in Mac circles for destroying data on hard drives more often than repairing it (use Alsoft DiskWarrior instead), a defragger is useless on a Mac-standard HFS+ formatted disk, there’s a firewall built in to OS X, and why would you need an anti-virus program on a platform with no viruses?

In other words, Symantec’s Mac division is desperate.

Move along, nothing to see here (and shame on Reuters, the Washington Post, and other media outlets for running Symantec’s marketing ploy as if it’s a real story).

UPDATE: David Coursey writes about Symantec’s conflict of interest in a more journalistic form over at eWeek—Mac Threats: Is Symantec Crying Wolf?

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.