back to article Windows malware dominates Mac malware detection chart

Malicious files that use the the scripting capability of Microsoft Media Player to infect Windows machines have emerged as the main threat detected on the machines of Apple users who have taken advantage of Sophos' recent offer of a freebie anti-malware scanner application. The Windows-specific threat - identified by Sophos as …


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  1. Barry Tabrah
    Jobs Horns

    Dirty Mac plague carriers

    You ain't bringing that mac on my network.

    1. sinisterpictures


      That insecure? Really?

  2. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns


    Which blithering idiot thought it was a good idea to be able to script Windows Media Player from within a media file?

    Oh, Bill Gates again. Never mind.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      My thoughts exactly. I have wondered for some time how WMP manages to be responsible for so many virus outbreaks. Now I know; I never realised before.

      MS' ability to deliberately engineer and construct security holes that are so bloody obvious a mole rat could see through them is beyond comprehension. Are the people at MS really THAT stupid? I really do struggle to believe that they are. But with this, and "autoplay" and a raft of other moronic ideas, the evidence screams otherwise. I mean, WHY???

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Lady Gaga and Madonna

    I hate to say these poor folks deserved their infection, but listening to shite like that does invoke a certain "ha-ha" reaction with me at least.

    /Paris, because like Madonna she's probably carrying a little infection around with her too

  4. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    "There is much less Mac malware than Windows malware, but that doesn't mean that Mac users should be blase about protecting their computers," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos.

    Ah, isn't that nice. She really cares about other operating systems on other hardware. See, Sophos really cares about computer users, that's nice. I cannot for the life of me possibly think of any other reason she would say these things, she really cares.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "There is much less Mac malware than Windows malware, but that doesn't mean that Mac users should be blase about protecting their computers,"

    I am and nothing bad has ever happened :-)

    I'm happy being blase! Anti-virus free since 2006 and long may it continue!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Target locked


    2. Joe 3

      Statistics, etc.

      I'm sure I read somewhere that there have been more instances with anti-virus malfunctioning on Macs (false positives, etc.) than there have been actual malware.

      Perhaps the day will come when there's some zero-day flaw that gets 90% of Macs in one fell swoop, but I'm still waiting for it... Nice fear-mongering, Sophos!

    3. Pete 6

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Virus free since 1996 and long may it continue!

      (I'm a PC)

  6. John Whitehead
    Thumb Down

    Idiotically impractical software

    I gave it a whirl -- I freelance with banks using Windows machines, so it would be embarrassing to be the source of a virus/trojan or other nasty.

    It took about 60 hours to trawl my hard drive and back ups and it found about 30 instances of one very old Windows trojan and two of another. It said it wasn't able to clean these automatically so I should do it manually.

    But the really stupid thing was that the window that listed the paths of the files wasn't big enough so they were presented in truncated form (they were well buried in backups so had very long paths). Nothing I tried would make the software cough up the full address and let me actually find the damned things.

    Perhaps I was being dim, but there is no way that I could act on the program's recommendation, so they're still sitting there. I think they're effectively harmless, being so old, but the same problem would presumably apply if they were the latest cunning and dastardly attack.

    Complete waste of time simply because of poor UI design.

    1. Tom 13

      Sophos is not alone in that rather annoying problem.

      I've had it with Norton and McAfee at work places that enforce their usage. Fortunately I've usually been able to find the logs which show the full path, but it is still rather a PITA. What I found more annoying was the lack of original filename and timestamp data for the reports I needed to file. The theory seems to be that you put the virus back where it came from, browse to the directory, record the data, and then delete it again. Reminds me rather of aiming a double barreled shotgun at my feet and making sure I fired BOTH chambers.

    2. James O'Shea

      it's worse than that

      I filed a bug report on that very item with the only place on Sophos' site that I could find that was a likely place to file. I got back an email indicating that I'd filed it in the wrong place. The location of the correct place to file it was left unclear.

      I have deleted the Sophos app from my system, having finished the trial and found it distinctly lacking.

      Someone wake me if there's ever a reason to reinstall it.

      Smugly yours...

    3. Michael Thibault
      Paris Hilton

      It's how you look!

      >... poor UI design.

      Gee! Who'd have expected that?

      PH knows what I'm talkin' 'bout, here.

  7. Bernard Lyons
    Thumb Up


    Virus-free since 1978.

    I'm a VAX.

    1. Kint

      pc user

      I use Avast, pretty good for me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advertising campaign... an attempt to sell their software to Mac users.

    1. Ted Treen


      They're going to become R-E-A-L-L-Y rich through selling a product for £0.00 or €0.00, or $0.00 (delete according to preferred currency).

      Yeah, my Macs have been free from the fruits-of-the-ungodly for 11 or 12 years - last "nasty" was the Autostart 9805 worm back in the late nineties, in pre-OSX days.

      I STILL run AV though - if only to catch "Windows" nasties, so I don't pass anything on to my poor benighted acquaintances.

      They've enough grief without my adding to it, poor blighters!

  9. J. Simon van der Walt

    Didn't find anything

    I let it run through my hard drive, and although I freely confess to having been all over the dark and dodgy corners of the internet downloading dodgy stuff, and letting my students plug their PC-infested USB sticks into my machine… nothing. No malware at all, not even so much as a Word macro virus.

    Ho. Hum.

  10. the old rang
    Thumb Down

    Reliability and Mircrosoft...

    I find your premise very strange...

    You should use a Microsoft phone to write your article...

    Store it on and SD card...

    Then load it into the normal computer you use...

    Then try to go to the phone, since, it won't load...


    Microsoft will blame someone, including you.... for the problem...

    Now, why are you using Linux, if you trust Microsoft?

    Sorry Cap'n... I dinna under-stand the premis'

  11. Stuart Duel
    Jobs Halo

    I gave it a go

    And likewise didn't find any rare-as-hens-teeth Mac malware that allegedly exists. It did find, however, the Windows malware mentioned in the article. The Sophos software isn't particularly well designed. I too discovered the truncated path names but through a bit of detective work found the offending files and removed them manually. I'm puzzled why the Sophos software couldn't remove the infected files since the payload wasn't actually active or in any way preventing removal.

    Perhaps its a strategy to buy something from them that will remove the infected files without me needing a gun and a flashlight?

    Anyway, in the many years I've been using Mac OS X and used anti-malware programs (previously ClamXav) and only ever found Windows threats.

  12. Patrick 8

    I welcome the day!

    I welcome the day that Microsoft makes a version of Windows that also treats all the infected files as dead weight that can not infect or injure the operating system in anyway like they currently do on Mac OS X or Linux and join the rest of the enlightened world exiting the dark ages forever!

    but then I woke up!

  13. Lord Lien

    AV software on a MAC..

    messes with the performance of the machine big time. If your a "home user" why would you need it? In big corporate where Sophos make money I can understand as you would not want to pass something onto a client.... but for home use.... would seem that Sophos are wasting there time & trying to scare people into using a product thats not needed.

    1. Jean-Paul

      Have you actually used it?

      Did you actually use the Sophos software one a Mac? I can't measure a performance impact at all. Yes I am not concerned about my Mac, but I am concerned about what I carry and pass on to me friends and more importantly clients. Which was the point of this article. I found 7 nasties that won't hurt me, but could affect me and my reputation when I pass them on to my Windows friends.

      No scaring just common sense.

      1. sinisterpictures

        Let them secure their own stuff

        I'm not, they should make sure their PCs are properly protected rather than look to blame others for the vulnerability of their OS.

  14. studentrights

    Macs don't have viruses...

    The really difference is that Macs do have viruses just malware.

    That's a big difference since a virus can infect your system without user interaction, where all the Mac malware requires the user to be tricked in installing or clicking on something.

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