Apple's stance regarding virus immunity changes

courtesy Apple Inc. ©2012
courtesy Apple Inc. ©2012
BANG! by bitplay (image courtesy ©2012)
BANG! by bitplay (image courtesy ©2012)
ThinkGeek's FX Lightsabers have easily removable "blades." (Image courtesy ©2012)
ThinkGeek's FX Lightsabers have easily removable "blades." (Image courtesy ©2012)
MAGTITAN NEO LEGEND Power Band is identical to one worn by Robert Downey, Jr. in "The Avengers." (Image courtesy ©2012)
MAGTITAN NEO LEGEND Power Band is identical to one worn by Robert Downey, Jr. in "The Avengers." (Image courtesy ©2012)

Considerable "flack" was generated recently when reports surfaced that Apple had unofficially softened its position regarding the immunity of the Mac OS to malware.

The security blog, Naked Security, claimed that the copy on the "Why You'll Love a Mac" section of Apple's website was quietly replaced. The section no longer states that a Mac "doesn't get PC viruses." Instead, it claims the Mac OS is "built to be safe."

Apple's critics view the change as a long overdue admission, but the company really had no choice. Reports that over half a million Macs were infected with the Flashback Trojan this year quickly put an end to the notion that iMacs and MacBooks were somehow immune from Internet threats.

(Note: A free Flashback detection tool is available here
. See also Apple Support Article HT5247, "About the security content of Java for OS X 2012-003 and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 8," which includes removal instructions.)

With the popularity of Apple's notebooks and desktops on the rise, hackers are now taking the time to scan the Mac OS for vulnerabilities. Macs have become worthwhile targets.

Most malware today still targets Windows computers, but it's foolish to operate your Mac without some form of anti-malware protection, particularly when many options are free. Three examples are:

  • Avira Antivirus for Mac is free for everyone, not just for personal use, and is devoid of advertising or annoying upgrade pitches.

Also available are paid solutions, which range in price from $50 - $80 and usually require an annual renewal. For more information, consult your favorite online or brick-and-mortar Mac software retailer.

Fun items featured on July 4th

In gangster movies, the mobster's knee-jerk reaction to an unfavorable news report is to shoot the TV, and in TV westerns, bad guys routinely use their six-guns to extinguish lantern illumination.

Today's ultra-violent urban landscape no longer permits us to find such behavior amusing, even in theatrical films. Everyone knows that a firearm discharged indoors or skyward often results in serious injury or death to innocent bystanders.

Thus, when I first saw BANG! by bitplay, I wasn't surprised to learn it was designed overseas. No U.S. manufacturer would produce a desk lamp you can turn off/on by using a remote control shaped like a handgun. You might as well make the lamp in the shape of a baby seal and include a club!

Nevertheless, this is what BANG! does, and although I'm ashamed to admit it, it's actually fun. Before you become outraged, let me quickly add that no one would ever mistake the infra-red pistol that comes with BANG! for a real firearm. It looks like it was carved from a bar of soap.

Still, if you pull the trigger, the device makes a penny arcade shooting gallery sound effect, and if aimed at the lamp, the lamp's bulb (not included) will go dark, and the lampshade will droop, like a vanquished opponent in a saloon shootout.

Then, if you fire again, the lampshade will right itself and the bulb will come back on, as if the prior scene was playing in reverse. It's somewhat creepy, but as a means of controlling a lamp by remote control, it's more entertaining than the Clapper.

If you don't find it offensive, the BANG! Desk Lamp by bitplay will enliven the decor of almost any room. It's not cheap, however. The device retails for $299.00. For more information, visit, bitplay's U.S. distributor.

From a galaxy far, far away, the Force FX lightsaber features a removable "blade," so you can remove it and wear the hilt on your hip. Powered by three AAA batteries (not included), the blade lights from the bottom up (with sound, of course) and fades from the top down (again, with sound). As you wait to strike, you hear the idling hum, just like in the "Star Wars" series.

Each swing triggers a "swiping" sound effect and clashes with other objects are accompanied by an explosive sound. From, available in different "Star Wars" character styles, the unit sells for $129.95.
As seen in the blockbuster movie, "The Avengers," the MAGTITAN NEO LEGEND Power Band is identical to the one worn by actor Robert Downey, Jr. ("Tony Stark") to summon the Iron Man suit in the nick of time. Made of titanium, carbon fiber, epoxy resin, and stainless steel, the bracelet sells for $199.99. For more information, visit