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Analyst: McAfee Engaged in Scaremongering

Analyst: McAfee Engaged in Scaremongering

by , 10:30 AM EDT, May 9th, 2006

Yankee Group analyst Andrew Jaquith says that virus protection developer McAfee's comments on the state of Mac security amount to "scaremongering." The report he is referring to is titled "The New Apple of Malware's Eye: Is Mac OS X the Next Windows?"

According to NewsFactor, Mr. Jaquith says the report is "Sloppily written and sloppy in its use of statistics. [It is] a speculative house of cards resting on a foundation of shaky statistics and questionable assumptions."

Stuart McClure, McAfee's senior vice president of the Global Threats division, commented "Many believe that using an Apple operating system is a form of security in itself. Apple's Mac OS platform is just as vulnerable to targeted malware attacks as other operating systems."

Mr. Jaquith points out that the McAfee report cites potential software vulnerability reports from Secunia as attacks on Mac OS X.

Rob Ayoub, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, notes that McAfee compares the number of vulnerabilities in Mac OS X to Windows with some very vague figures. The report shows the number of Mac vulnerabilities increasing from 28 to 143, or 228 percent, from 2003 to 2005. For the same period, Windows showed at 73 percent increase. The problem, he says, is that McAfee fails to offer real numbers for the Windows statistic, making it difficult to make a meaningful comparison.

None of the analysts are claiming that Mac OS X is invulnerable to attack, but they do note that McAfee does have a real interest in selling its virus protection software to Mac users, and the report suggests Mac users purchase the company's products.

You can decide for yourself if McAfee's claims are legitimate, or if the company is playing on computer user fears by reading the report for yourself.

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