Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Intego Errors!
Marketing Vs Fact,
Money Vs Reality

Kids. Didn't I tell you the computer anti-malware community was 'unprofessional'? Here we go again.

For shame Intego! Publishing FUD to sell your anti-malware software. For shame!

I like the folks at Intego a lot. But this is the SECOND time they have outright FUDed the public for the sake of making sales of their indeed superior anti-malware software. Note that this is entirely in line with our current era of PROPAGANDA at the expense of both facts and reality. I DESPISE FUD! I DESPISE PROPAGANDA! If you check out my zunipus blog you'll see I'm well versed on the subject.

This very WRONG page of information was posted at the Intego website this week. It makes me want to gag. It's crap like this that inspires me to keep writing my own, independent, 'hey look at me I have a brain in my head', Mac-Security blog:

Intego: Learn About Mac Malware

The Post-Mortum:

I) This page claims to provide a "clear explanation of what types of viruses and malware are a danger for Mac OS X."


There is nothing 'clear' about FUDing customers and confusing them with ignorant information. If you haven't already spotted the garbage on this page, read on.

II) The Mac picture provided on the page, with its arrows to various malware, includes the word "Botnet". This is WRONG. There is no such thing as a 'botnet' form of malware. A 'botnet' is the result of having many computers infected with BOT malware. The software that infects your computer is called a 'bot.' Not a 'botnet'. A BOT!

III) The paragraph entitled "MAC VIRUS" is WRONG. There are NO viruses for Mac OS X. There never have been any viruses for Mac OS X. So this paragraph must be proceeded with the word:


The description of viruses by Intego in this wrongful paragraph is entirely inadequate. Read these instead:

Computer Virus
What is virus?

In fact there are dozens of pages on the Internet that have superior descriptions of computer viruses. Google "What is a computer virus?"

IV) Examining the wrongful "MAC VIRUS" paragraph we see two wrongful examples. They are NOT viruses. Here is what they REALLY are: PROOF OF CONCEPT malware. Did you see 'Proof Of Concept' listed as a type of malware in Intego's illustration? No. Why? Because they are only demonstration malware that are NOT released into the wild, cannot replicate in the wild, and are only created to prove a software security problem. They are HARMLESS to one and all except on test machines used for EXPERIMENTATION. Anyone telling you that Proof of Concept malware will ever appear on your machine at any time, except within an experimentation situation, are FUDing you. FUD = a classic form of propaganda known as FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT.

You can read about FUD here:

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda.

If you'd like to read about Proof Of Concept malware, check these out:

Proof of concept


What is proof-of-concept virus?

And for fun, here is what these two Proof of Concept malware actually do:

A) OSX.MacArena.A - Here is a quotation from 2006 from Kaspersky's Securelist.com:
"Macarena was the first attempt to create a virus for Mac OS X that infects mach-o format executable files. The virus only infects files in the current directory and only runs on Intel platforms, i.e. it does not pose a threat to machines with ppc architecture. These malicious programs are purely proof of concept code, i.e. they demonstrate that such programs can be created."
Darn. This thing can only self-propagate within its own current directory. Wow. So scary. It is NOT in the wild. It does NOTHING to harm your computer. Not-a-thing.

B) "OSX/Oomp-A or Leap.A" - First off, note use of two different names for the exact same thing, AND the total lack of conformity to the published malware naming standard. I'd be ticked off, except this is again harmless proof of concept malware, so who cares. Here is an article from Macworld, published in 2006, about what is ACTUALLY called the "Oompa-Loompa Trojan" by the first person to publicly describe it, Andrew Welch of Ambrosia Software:

Reports emerge of Mac OS X Trojan horse or worm
"Reports indicate that someone has let loose a “Trojan horse” or worm for Mac OS X users. The program is hidden within a package that purportedly contains screenshots of Apple’s as-yet unannounced next major revision to Mac OS X. Whether it’s a Trojan horse or worm seems to vary depending on the source of the information."
Do you see the word 'virus' in this description? NO.
"So-called Trojan horses are differentiated from viruses because they masquerade as a regular application or file and do not replicate themselves arbitrarily."
Ah! So NOT a virus!
"Anti-virus software maker Sophos takes issue with this description claiming this is the “first ever virus for Mac OS X.”
Traveling over to the Sophos page, what do we see in the TITLE of their article?
"First ever virus for Mac OS X discovered
OSX/Leap-A worm spreads via iChat instant messaging software
So it's a 'worm', and NOT actually a virus. That's what Sophos are actually saying.

But I thought proof of concept OSX.MacArena.A was "the first attempt to create a virus"!!!

Are you getting the idea of how chaotic the anti-malware community can be?

And guess what folks. Ooompa-Loompa was made entirely INERT with the next Apple revision of iChat. So be scared. Be VERY scared!

And no, it's NOT a virus. No, it CANNOT replicate itself in-the-wild. This thing can only replicate via iChat within a LAN. That means it hasn't even got a clue what the Internet is. Got that? NOT-IN-THE-WILD at all. It can't get there. There was only ever ONE place it was ever found on the Internet, at that was in a forum at a Mac rumor website.

V) Then we move along to the wrongful paragraph about BOTs. I'm perfectly happy to ALSO call them by other malware names. But the ONLY bots for Macs exist in the form of Trojan horses. There are three of them: Trojan.OSX.iServices.A - C, which is to say that there are versions A, B and C. They have only ever been found, as Intego indicate, within the installers of pirated software. These include pirated copies of Apple iWork and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Once Macs were infected, via these pirated installers, with the bots, the computers were then 'zombied' or 'botted'. Via communication over the Internet, these machines then joined into what is called a 'botnet'. In early 2009 there was a guestimate that the resulting botnet contained over 10,000 Macs, which indicates the popularity of pirated software. The only published attack carried out by this botnet that I am aware of was a DDOS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack. I've never heard or read about it again. But note that this malware is indeed still in-the-wild and can infect you.

VI) Then we get to the WORM section: Note how Intego don't list any for Mac. That's because THERE AREN'T ANY for Mac, except as Proof of Concept malware. Yawn. Therefore, this section also requires the removal of the 'YES' to be replaced with:


The description of worms here is poor. Reading this stuff you'd think they were the same thing as viruses. They aren't. Read this from Wikipedia.org:

Computer worm
"Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer."
The main, if not only, point of a worm is self-replication. Whereas, the point of a virus is not merely to replicate but to DAMAGE.

I know Intego are not going to be pleased that I've ripped apart this blatant propaganda / FUD piece. To be honest, I'm really miffed that I, a non-professional in the Mac malware field, end up having to point out these ERRORS and FUD. If dimwit security amateur me knows full well the bullshit in this Intego article, why the hell are the 'professionals' at Intego publishing it?!

My proposal:
Dear Intego,

FIRE your Marketing Manager. Dishonest marketing damages your company's reputation. Witness Adobe.

And please don't bother writing to me to attempt to explain the bullshit in your article! Just take the article down, remove it, kill it. Then get a serious professional at Intego, (I know they exist! I've talked to them!), to write a seriously HELPFUL, HONEST and INFORMATIVE article that misleads no one and educates everyone. THAT will bolster your reputation and sales. Not this FUD crap.
Where's my aspirin?

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