The Macalope Daily: King of the jungle

What if they threw a Mac malware explosion and nobody came? That’s what The Unofficial Apple Weblog’s Richard Gaywood thinks may have happened, as the explosion has, to date, been more of a fizzle.

Gaywood used a script to help him track the number of malware definitions Apple has been adding to OS X’s XProtect scanner and found that, after a climb through mid-June, it’s plateaued. Either Apple has given up and is leaving us to the wolves, or...there hasn’t been any new Mac malware for over a month. Well, that’s weird! This “year of Mac malware” has about as much of a winning streak as the Seattle Mariners. Well, maybe it’ll pick up in the second half of the year.

The Mac malware, the Macalope means. Not the Mariners. They’re toast.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott, he of the dire Mac malware warnings, says “We are in the ‘tentative probe’ and “beta test” phases for Mac malware.” In other words, just you wait! That Mac malware disaster’s a-comin’!

OK, should we review the story of The Bott Boy Who Cried Wolf again? That’d be the one that kicked off this little debate:

The tale concerns a shepherd boy who tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. He repeats this so many times that when the sheep are actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers do not believe his cries for help and the flock is destroyed.

See how that works? The danger may, in fact, be coming, but the constant warnings of immediate doom that don’t materialize make us not take you seriously.

Bott’s thesis is that, as use of Windows XP drops off, malware writers will look to other platforms. That’s certainly true, but it might be harder now than it appeared to be in the spring:

With Wednesday’s release of Mac OS X Lion, Apple has definitively leapfrogged its rivals by offering an operating system with state-of-the-art security protections that make it more resistant to malware exploits and other hack attacks, two researchers say.

Full disclaimer for the more jerktastic readers: The Macalope is not saying OS X is now invulnerable; he knows the biggest security flaw in any system is not the operating system, it’s the dinkus driving the machine. And, again, we may see an explosion in Mac malware! May.

But for the past few years the horny one has been forced to admit that the crown for the most inherently secure desktop operating system was worn by Windows 7. The Macalope doesn’t make these determinations on his own, because he’s completely unqualified to do so. He relies on experts. Now the experts say it’s Lion.

Hail to the king, baby.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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