Mac OS X "Virus" Is A Leap Into Misunderstanding

When non-technical people attempt to write technical news invariably some people's perception will suffer. Case in point: LEAP-A, a worm that affects Mac OS X systems.

Numerous news stories are floating around various Internet-based news sites (including, PC Pro, Techworld, VNUNet, PC Advisor, among others), with sensationalized headlines that basically make the claim that "the first MAC virus has been discovered."

Well, not to be overly picky here, but it's a worm (not a virus!) that could possible enter a person's system via iChat. And, there's a level of ignorance required for the worm to even launch: The worm is packaged as an archive (.tgz file), so a Mac user actually must open the file and launch the code. This is same type of problem that faces uneducated users of any computing platform. Everybody reading this undoubtedly knows that if an intruder can get you run their code then they can easily "own" your system.

Anyway, this is yet another case of the media (inadvertantly?) dumbing down the public when they actually had a chance to educate people.

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