Saturday, December 8, 2007

Symantec Massive Booboo, Again

I suspect this post will come off as snotty. But the fact is that Symantec have consistently been the #1 purveyor of anti-Mac security FUD since 2005. They pulled another FUD attack just this past month.

As ever, FUD is used as a propaganda tactic in order to frighten people into doing your bidding. Our current USA federal executive branch is using FUD to drive a war machine for the purpose of their special interests, as opposed to the actual interests of the citizens they are supposed to be representing. Their particular FUD phrase is 'The Long War' referring to the non-existant 'war' on terrorism.

What has been Symantec's purpose? They want to sell Norton Anti-Virus to Mac users. Not surprisingly their FUD started precisely at the time when it became blatantly evident that Norton AV was one of the single most buggy applications available for Macintosh. Needless to say, Symantec's efforts so far have been rebuffed. The usual response is that Mac users are deliberately ignorant about security. In actuality I think we can all agree that Mac users will very much become knowledgeable about Mac security at such time as it proves to be of actual importance.

Payback is a bitch. And Symantec pulled quite a booboo this past week. You can read all about it here:,2704,2229576,00.asp

To quote PC Magazine:

Update: Symantec Screwup Is 'Worse Than Any Virus'
By Chloe Albanesius

A routine update from Symantec Security Response wreaked havoc on a California company's clientele this week when it inadvertently tagged a program produced by Solid Oak Software as a virus and cut off the Internet access of Solid Oak customers.

. . .

Solid Oak customers including schools, libraries and personal accounts, were not provided with a recovery mechanism and subsequently lost Internet access. Solid Oak did not have an exact number of those affected, but it likely numbers in the tens of thousands, according to a spokeswoman.

Customers have had to re-install entire operating systems and software, she said.

. . .

This is the third time in less than a year that Symantec's Norton products have caused severe damage to computers running CYBERsitter software offerings, said Brian Milburn, president of Solid Oak Software, in a statement. "In my opinion, Norton products are worse than any virus I can think of," he said.

"We have thousands of users with no Internet access and all Symantec has done is to provide our mutual customers with a non-functioning support number that tell them to use on-line support," Milburn added. "The problem is even worse because [it's] the holiday season. Users are trying to order gifts on-line and they can't."

. . .

The situation is "embarrassing" for Solid Oak, Solid Oak's spokeswoman said. The company has been forced to pass along to customers instructions from Symantec, but nothing is working as of Thursday, she said. "People are upset," she said.

Solid Oak received an e-mail from Kevin Haley, Symantec's director of product management for Security Response, at 11 a.m. PST Thursday but no further instructions were relayed at the original time of this story's publication, according to Solid Oak.

Happily Symantec issued a solution this Friday.

Personal blether-fest related to the subject:

As I tell everyone, we are still in 'The Stone Age Of Computing.' Software development in particular is remarkably primitive, a PITA, consistently unreliable, and still requires drastic improvements in user-friendliness. Essentially, the software development task, using the crummy tools and coding philosophies we have at this time, is well beyond the comprehension of any one human being. And as usual, once you get into the process of coding by committee, you can break up a project into pieces, but getting the pieces to all be of the same quality and getting them all to work together properly is just about impossible.

A great example to watch right now is the progress of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Undoubtedly it is the best OS on the market. But new bugs are discovered every single day. It clearly is suffering from what is called the '1.0' effect where the first publicly released version of any program is not-ready-for-prime-time. Why this effect happens so consistently is a complicated matter I may discuss some other time. Suffice it to say that it is expected and eventually works itself out. But nothing is perfect.

Much as I love Mac OS X Tiger, even at the 11th revision it still has bugs. Example: Have you noticed that even in 10.4.11 you still have the icons of some of the files in a folder disappear from time to time? It is because of flaws in the Finder. You can find a freeware tool called Refresh Finder to help overcome this nonsense at:

CONCLUSION: Every software company consistently makes mistakes. It is part of our times. But it is particularly satisfying, in a mean-spirited kind of way I must admit, when a lying, fear-mongering company like Symantec fall of their face due to their own incompetence and arrogance. Let's hope we all learn from our mistakes and learn to treat each other with more understanding and respect.

No comments:

Post a Comment