Mozilla CEO Blasts Apple’s Safari Ploy

Lilly compares Apple to malware distributor

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Slipping another web browser onto a PC along with an iTunes update strikes John Lilly as a risky security move.

Apple as the great security threat to Windows? One might think that after checking out Lilly’s post on his blog.

He noted how the Apple Software Update suggests the Safari web browser as something to update, even if the PC in question never had Safari on the system previously.

Since people tend to blithely install whatever the computer tells them to do, they are likely to install Safari along with the iTunes update. If you’ve just installed iTunes on a clean Windows machine, Apple Software Update only lists Safari.

Lilly goes as far as suggesting Apple’s listing of Safari as available software “borders on malware distribution practices.” Apple’s always-jovial legal department may find that characterization a little more interesting than Lilly intended.

The whole kerfuffle comes down to something that is Apple’s fault, in a way. When running Apple Software Update and something is available, the window reads, “New software is available from Apple” followed by “Select the items you want to update, then click Install.”

See the semantic problem? New software, items you want to update? If Apple had programmed Software Update to recognize a new install and call it that explicitly, maybe Lilly wouldn’t be so upset.

A prudent computer user probably has no problem recognizing when Apple drops something new into the Software Update screen. It’s easy to avoid installing Safari if you don’t want it on Windows.

Real malware exhibitors exist, and deserve criticism. Apple’s just not in that category. Check out Ben Edelman’s site to learn what malware distributors do.

Mozilla CEO Blasts Apple’s Safari Ploy
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  • Guest

     Why can’t I go to the Firefox download page without having Thunderbird thrust into my face? Why must the Firefox documentation page assault me with links to Thunderbird? Why can’t I download their HTML editor without all the crap I don’t want? 

    Note to Herr Lilly: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…

    Want to know about a real problem? Microsoft installing IE7 without asking or informing you.


    • Guest

      Mindless Bashing? Have you seen any of the hundreds lame Mac commercials? I’ve never seen a Microsoft commercial in my life, and if they did they wouldn’t waste a second on talking about all the flaws with Macs. This is just icing on the cake for one of the most pathetic comapanies i’ve ever seen. Macs are just PCs with an open source Linux OS and have nothing good to bring to the table. And there’s my mindless bashing for the day. Don’t like it? Fuck off.

  • Guest

    It’s called Apple Software UPDATE… not Apple Software ADDITION. The tool should be used as it was originally unveiled to the public, as a means of distributing important and often security-related updates to Apple software already installed on the user’s computer. Using it to drive up the install base of other software products that users might not want or need is an inappropriate use of the tool. People saying it is within Apple’s rights to quietly install new products on those machines just don’t seem to understand the concept of only installing the software you need.

    Yes, users should know better. They should read the dialog boxes. They should see there is an option to opt out. But often times they don’t, and that’s no excuse for Apple’s attempt to exploit end-user ignorance and/or apathy.

    Apple complained when Microsoft made a similar move with their Windows Update software. Now you’ll notice that Microsoft Update will offer software not currently installed on a user’s computer, but it won’t be checked by default, meaning the user must make an active decision to install it if they so choose. Why can’t Apple take the same approach?

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