DVForge puts all Mac users at risk for personal gain – UPDATED

DVForge puts all Mac users at risk for personal gain

On the Windows side of computing, there have been countless thousands of poor souls who have suffered countless hours trying to repair or recover from a virus infection on their computer. They are common, unfortunately, and can cause irreparable harm. From lost data to lost money, a virus can do much harm.

For Mac OS X, there have been no viruses to date, mostly because of the small user base and the relatively small installed user base. It should come as no surprise, then, when the anti-virus software maker Symantec Corporation warned that it is only a matter of time before a virus actually shows up on the platform. Their reasoning? Mac OS X is starting to make much bigger inroads with computer buyers, with the popularity of iPods, iTunes Music Store, and the Mac mini. In essence, they state that as the Mac OS X gets more popular, the malicious virus creators of the world will take notice and begin writing virus software designed to attack the Mac OS X operating system.

Symantec is in the business of creating and selling anti-virus software, so some may have looked at their announcement as a scare tactic in the hopes of selling more anti-virus software to Mac users. Whatever their motivation, self-serving or actually concerned member of the computing world, most took their warning to heart.

There is no doubt that, eventually, there will be a virus for Mac OS X. There were viruses on the Mac OS for years, although never as many as on Windows. I remember fighting a virus infection on Mac OS 7.5 one long weekend, thankfully rescuing my data.

So it came as quite a surprise to read about the challenge DVForge, Inc. has issued to the virus makers of the world. In essence, they have challenged someone to create a virus on Mac OS X, and will pay $25,000 to anyone who does it according to their rules. Their rules make it, of course, almost impossible. But that is really not the problem with this stupid PR stunt.

The problem is that Jack Campbell, CEO of DVForge, Inc, is actively encouraging virus makers to make destructive software for the Macintosh. He is offering money for someone to create software that could potentially cause you to loose all the data on your Macintosh computer.

This is nothing but a PR stunt by DVForge and their CEO Jack Campbell. They are, in effect, encouraging someone to write a virus for the Mac. This is one of the most stupid and irresponsible stunts I have ever read about, and this article is my public call for them to recant the offer and offer an online, public apology to Mac users and Apple Computer, Inc.

Before I wrote this article, I sent an email to Jack Campbell, with whom I have had correspondence in the resent past. I expressed my outrage. He was firm in his (misguided) belief that he is doing this not for just the PR benefit (which he agrees is part of it) but because of his “personal outrage at the misrepresentations that continue to plant irrational fear in the minds of present and future OS X customers.”

Here, then, is my outrage. For a company to offer cash to a virus creator is irresponsible and stupid. For a company to try and gain PR for such an act is disgusting. And I believe this so strongly, I will actively call for a boycott of ALL DVForge products on Monday, March 28, 2005, if this stunt is not recanted by then. I will contact and encourage every Mac reporter and writer I know to do likewise. (I know a lot of them after ten years of publishing, I promise you.)

I ask you, the readers, to email DVForge yourself and express your own outrage and demand they recant this offer and offer the Mac users of the world an apology. You can email them at sales@DVForge.com.


DVForge Cancels The Mac OS X Virus Prize
March 26, 2005 - For Immediate Release

Today, at 12::00 noon Central Time, DVForge, Inc. announces its
cancellation of the Mac OS X Virus Prize 2005 that the company
announced earlier in the day.

“In response to the statements put forth this past week by Symantec
Corporation suggesting that Mac users are at substantial risk to
infections from viruses, our company crafted and announced a contest
that would have paid a $25,000 prize for the successful creation of
such a virus,” said Jack Campbell, DVForge, Inc. CEO, “During the first
several hours after making the public announcement, I was contacted by
a large number of Mac users and Mac software professionals who shared
their thinking with me about the contest. A few of these people are
extremely well-regarded experts in the field of Mac OS X security. So,
I have taken their advice very seriously, and have made the difficult
decision to cancel our contest. I have been convinced that the risk of
a virus on the OS X platform is not zero, although it is remarkably
close to zero. More importantly, I have been convinced that there may
be legality issues stemming from such a contest, beyond those
determined by our own legal counsel, prior to announcing the contest.
So, despite my personal distaste for what some companies have done to
take advantage of virus fears among the Mac community, and my own
inclination to make a bold statement in response to those fears, I have
no responsible choice but to retract the contest, effective

The Mac OS X Virus Prize contest web page will remain active for the
foreseeable future, and will be used to show articles and links that
will help Mac users better understand the risk to computer viruses, and
the reasonable measures best used to continue enjoying virus-free usage
of their Mac OS X computer systems. That web page is located at

Jack Campbell, CEO

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