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When Macs can run thousands of Windows… viruses

Last updated on July 23, 2020

norton-dual-protection-pack.pngArs Technica writes about an interesting new package being released by longstanding Mac and Windows developer Symantec that is surely a sign of the times. Symantec is bundling Windows and Mac versions of its Anti-Virus protection in one package for Mac users who are running virtualization software from Parallels or VMWare, One can now Seussically say that Norton clears for two.

I haven’t considered the ability to run Windows programs as a functional driver of the success behind in the wake of Apple’s Intel transition, (although the assurance that it can has probably removed some psychological barriers), pinning it down more to price/performance improvements. However, apparently Symantec believes that double-dipping Mac users will appreciate the extra, and perhaps proactive, security blanket even though, as Ars notes:

While we haven’t heard any reports of a virus striking a Windows VM and taking advantage of this Mac OS X directory access, it certainly is theoretically possible. There are also products like MacDrive which can grant read/write access of an entire Mac-formatted volume to versions of Windows from 98 on. Both of these situations could bring a Mac’s OS X boot volume into the sights of a malicious application.

I also continue to be surprised (but only slightly) that Apple has not included virtualization itself in the OS by simply buying Parallels or developing their own solution. Apple has supported other architectures before and advertised the Mac’s ability to run Windows on national TV (in two different commercials). Apple describes Boot Camp as an option that mazimizes compatibility, but the tradeoff in convenience is not worth it for most users. Besides, including virtualization software would allow Apple to make a stronger case for beefier Mac configurations.

Finally, speaking of Windows running on Macs, I seem to remember some statements from Microsoft that it would clarify its OS support of the hardware once Boot Camp became released code, which it now is. I suppose Microsoft has its hands full supporting Vista on machines that it has already certified, even those it perhaps shouldn’t have.