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Mac Musings

Apple Must Be Back

They're Making Mac Viruses Again

1998.09.30 - Page not found | Low End Mac

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- Tip Jar

In one way, the Macintosh is the less popular cousin of the Wintel PC. I've heard there are now over 20,000 viruses for DOS and Windows computers.

Twenty-thousand.

Until this year, the Mac was stuck at 44. I think it was about five years since the last new Mac virus was created and discovered. (Unless you count Microsoft Office Manager as a virus, but that's another story.)

Just since May, we've broken 50, thanks almost exclusively to the AutoStart Worm in at least six variants (A through F). In fact, this is the first virus I've actually seen identified in about five years. The last time was when a coworker brought in a several-year-old floppy from home to see what was on it. And today, our art director popped in an AutoStart-infected Zip disk.

The outside artist who had supplied that Zip got a quick lesson on the virus. We emailed one of the several antidotes - and insisted he contact anyone he'd sent disks to ASAP.

Mac virus number 51 was posted last Friday, identified on Saturday, pulled from the Web, and warnings posted everywhere. If you haven't heard about the Graphics Accelerator virus (a.k.a. SevenDust, 666, MDEF 9806) yet, be sure to follow a link at the end of this article.

To my way of thinking, the simple fact that people are once again willing to invest time and energy into creating viruses for the Macintosh means it's not a dead or dying platform. Nobody writes viruses if they don't expect to infect a wide audience.

So in a perverse sort of way, the sudden spate of Mac viruses is just one more bit of evidence that Apple is indeed back.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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