No mention of a security patch
I was surprised, because the short description notification I’d received from the iPhone itself mentioned nothing about security, but that the update was instead for an app that I don’t even use. So I had decided a few days before that I would not take this particular update, as I didn’t feel that it applied to me.
Even here, in the official iOS 8.4.1 release notes it isn’t clear that anything beyond Apple Music is affected. The nebulous “For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website” goes to a page that is even more ambiguous about the topic of ‘security’.
Fast forward a few days, to a conversation I was having with a friend with a Macbook who was telling me that Macs can’t get malware because there is no malware written for Macs that can actually affect them.
I offered my typical response after working five years for IT security software companies and another two years for an IT market research firm. “That’s a myth,” I said, “one that Apple still wants people to believe” – even if it’s to the detriment of Apple users. Of course it’s difficult to argue with people who think they ‘know’ what they only ‘believe’, so I stopped trying to explain Apple’s Potemkin façade and told him I’d send him an article (easily found via Google) that details just the two most recent exploits against Mac OS X.
The truth is out there
The Guardian article “Two Mac viruses strike at the heart of the platform’s secure image” (4 August) details two recent successful Mac malware strains: ‘Thunderstrike 2’ and a ‘privilege escalation bug’. The article’s journalist, Alex Hern, states:
So proud has Apple been of its security that it even ran several spots in its Mac vs PC ad campaign dedicated to the idea that Macs don’t get viruses.
The time has come, however, for Apple to get real. And if Apple still does not want to acknowledge that its products – great as they are – are susceptible to malware, then you as an Apple customer should at least know about the dangers and protect yourself against them.
Make your Apple products safe (for real) right now
In mid-August, Tom’s Guide awarded Avira Free Antivirus for Mac with its Editors’ Choice for Mac antivirus products, stating that Avira is “easy to use, has a light system impact, offers scheduled scanning and, most importantly, provides better malware protection than most of its paid competitors.”