Open Letter to SC Magazine

Andrew Jaquith
Andrew Jaquith ∙ Managing Director, Markerbench
2 min read ∙ April 24, 2006

Sent from my YG account 25 April 2006:

Dear Sir,

Please stop printing sensationalist headlines.

The headline of your article on 21 April 2006, “Report: Non-Windows attacks on the rise” gives the misleading impression that non-Windows platforms are increasingly being “attacked”, and cites a recent Kaspersky report by Konstantin Sapronov as evidence. In fact, the report says nothing of the kind.

The report states that the number of malware samples Kaspersky Lab collected increased in 2005 to 863, from 422 in 2004. That is indeed a substantial increase, but the report is very careful not to characterize these as “attacks” — defined per Oxford as “aggressive and violent actions against persons or places.” Obtaining malware programs is not the same as reporting an attack. Indeed, Sapronov cites only one bona fide infection, noting that with respect to actual Linux incidents, “it was a quiet year…as for other Unix platforms, the situation is even quieter.” Other than that, no other evidence of specific actions against any particular person or place was cited in Kaspersky’s report, and I am sure they did not intend to imply any.

In addition, it would be entirely unfair to mention Kaspersky’s malware report on non-Windows platforms without mentioning their accompanying Windows report also. That report states that the number of Windows-related malware programs detected by Kaspersky Lab increased to 53,950 in 2005 from 2004’s 31,726. That is a number 60 times larger than the Linux figure, and is certainly more worrying than a few hundred new malware samples, very few of which have been claimed to cause any harm to anybody.

Best regards,