[iApple:iSupport] iPod iNoculation : iT iS iNconceivable iT iS i iNstead oF tHey iN wHom iNstigated tHis iSolated iNcident

by M. David Peterson

Attribution Lineage: Dare Obasanjo < PaoloM < Some Genius @ Apple Support < Some BlackHat Hacker @ Some Contract Manufacturer Somewhere Else In The World (if I had a link I would provide it.) < Some BlackHat Hacker(s) Who Wrote The RavMonE.exe virus (ditto)
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Inoculation Effect

In communication theory, the inoculation effect refers to a strategy of prejudicing one's audience against an opposing argument they may hear in the future.



Inoculation Theory


The application to persuasion is apparent. If we want to strengthen existing attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, inoculation theory suggests that we should present a weak attack on those attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Again, the key word here is, "weak." If the attack is too strong, it will cause the attitude, belief, or behavior to get weaker or even move to the opposite position. The attack has to be strong enough to challenge the defenses of the receiver without overwhelming them.

Here are the steps of effective inoculation:

Warn the receiver of the impending attack.
Make a weak attack.
Get the receiver to actively defend the attitude.


Inoculation Instance

Small Number of Video iPods Shipped With Windows Virus

We recently discovered that a small number - less than 1% - of the Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006, left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus. This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem. The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free. As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.


So here's my question,

7 Comments

pjm
2006-10-19 00:48:24
Why would there be outrage? A few handfuls of iPods are released with a virus that doesn't have any effect on Macintoshes, and doesn't even do anything on a well-patched Windows box. Really, who gives a toss? Had it been Microsoft there would have been the usual flurry of rolled eyes, the odd blog post about how they still don't get it, etc. Big hairy deal...


Do you really expect "the Apple community" (sounds about as ridiculous as when people talk about "the gay community's reaction"; who constitutes this community? In what sense *are* they are community?) to rail against a small-time fuck-up at one of the cheap-arse manufacturers? Why?


M. David Peterson
2006-10-19 03:42:57
@pjm,


Point well taken... Why should there be outrage? There probably shouldn't be. Nobody was really effected by it.. no harm. no foul, right?


That said, why then the statement "As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses,"?


The point of this post is really about that statement in particular. Apple is attempting to take something that *IS* a big deal, though fortunately no one was effected, and turn it into something that for all intents and purposes states "the problem really starts at Microsoft, because the virus was for Windows, and because it was for Windows, then it's really Windows fault."


You see, the statement that precedes this, "This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it." was all that needed to be said. In fact, that very statement alone suggests that this isn't a big deal because the chances that anyone will be effected are basicially zero. Why? Because "up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it." -- The chances of this having much effect on anybody was basically zero, so as you alluded, no harm, no foul.


But thats not where it stopped. The problem is that instead of stating something to the effect of,


"this was a mistake in which fortunately will effect very few people, if any at all. Still, we take full responsibility, and have taken measures to both investigate how this happened in the first place, as well as ensuring that each and every device is properly checked for any such viruses such that this will never again be an issue from this point forward."


Instead, they chose to make an attempt at placing at least part of the blame on the Windows, even though they had already stated that Windows was already well protected against this virus. So which is it? Is Windows well protected, or are they not being more hardy against such viruses? You can't have both, but they chose to make an attempt at using both. Why?


Because they knew that in doing so it would push the focus away from the real problem which is that somehow, and in someway, they shipped product that contained a known Virus that effects Windows computers. *THEY* were spreading a know Windows virus, but the only thing they are willing to state is "and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it."


I'm glad to see their upset, but is that really taking responsibilty? People do that kind of thing all the time... "I'm mad at myself for letting this happen, but it really wasn't my fault... I mean, how was I supposed to know she had a sexually transmitted disease and I should have worn protection?! She's the one who shouldn't have caught the STD in the first place, so it's her fault, not mine... What kind of a sleaze allows themselves to catch a STD!"


Oh, I don't know, maybe the kind that sleeps around, and does so unprotected?


Stepping away from this particular point, your statement that "Had it been Microsoft there would have been the usual flurry of rolled eyes, the odd blog post about how they still don't get it, etc. Big hairy deal..." is simply not true. Microsoft at the moment is in the battle of their lifetime with the EU. Why? Because they are attempting to actually provide *better* protection to their Operating System, and the EU just won't have it!


Had this been Microsoft, this would have turned into something bigger than most anything that has ever happened, and Apple of all companies would have been the first to jump all over it.


Just look at their latest base of commercials... Does "atchooo... atchooo... Oh, don't come near me, I have this horrible virus thats going around" ring a bell?


This is a *HUGE* deal, and Apple doesn't want to face up to it.


So they push the blame... And because everyone has been properly conditioned to react a certain way when Windows and Virus are mentioned together, they chose to take advantage of that such that they could cause that same sense of "oh, see, its not Mac, its Windows thats really to blame... Those evil virus loving bastards!"

Jeremy
2006-10-19 10:36:18
Okay, so I think the answer to your question, where is the outrage? Well, the people with the virus are probably upset. However, I think it also has to do with reputation. How many viruses were there in Apple products in the last... forever? How about how many viruses were there in Microsoft products...not to say shipping products, but in general? There you have the benefit of the doubt. No company is perfect.


I tend to agree with Apple's statement. It is unfortunate the Windows is even vulnerable to such things, but it is Apple's oversight that got the viruses in there. That's what they said. People seem to think that Apple is blaming MS for the virus. That's not what they said and people's knee-jerk reactions, to me, are incorrect. They are saying that it unfortunate that MS's OS is vulnerable while accepting blame for the oversight.

Jeremy
2006-10-19 10:39:29
Also, if I were a conspiracy theorist, I might say it's interesting how a virus gets on to iPods when MS is coming out with the Zune and Apple is advertising how the Mac is less vulnerable to viruses. MS is also coming out with a new version of its OS at a time when the Mac is gaining in market share. So is MS to blame behind the scenes... there are obviously hackers for hire out there...
M. David Peterson
2006-10-19 11:14:19
@Jeremy,


Let me start with your follow-up comment first,


>> Also, if I were a conspiracy theorist, I might say it's interesting how a virus gets on to iPods when MS is coming out with the Zune and Apple is advertising how the Mac is less vulnerable to viruses. <<


Interesting, yes... But the chance that it *could* happen, doesn't mean it *did* happen. It's a weak argument to use the possibility that this could have happened this particular way, and because it could have, even without any evidence that it did, suggest this as something that should be given anything more than a "yeah... but sorry, thats not gonna fly..."


>> MS is also coming out with a new version of its OS at a time when the Mac is gaining in market share. So is MS to blame behind the scenes... <<


So your using a question as a form of what? Accusation? Jeremy, this is what inoculation is all about... you provide simple things that *could* be a plausible scenario, and then build your case in favor of Apple based on this scenario. In other words, because this could be a possibility, Apple must therefore be justfied in there statement that this really could have been avoided if people didn't write viruses for Windows.


Jeremy, do you write code for a living? If you do, then you do understand that a virus can be written for ANY system, correct? I mean, this virus in particular doesn't even really do all that much... it just kind of makes itself annoying by doing annoying little things that you wouldn't expect, but often times thats all it is seen as; an annoyance. In other words, there are LOTS and LOTS of ways to write viruses that use nothing more than the system API -- they're not attempting to exploit security holes, or take advantage of a stack overflow, and instead they are simply doing what any normal application can and does do... Like open and read a file, open and close a port, open and read your address book, open a connection to another server, send that informatin to that server, and then quietly hibernate until such time as whomever wrote the virus decides its time to have some more fun.


You don't think someone could write such a virus for a Mac?


I would offer to show you just how easy it would be, but I'd rather keep myself away from things that could have effects on my personal life that I would rather not have effected. None-the-less, these are not the kinds of things that are difficult to figure out -- thats why a lot of these viruses are written by 14 year old script kiddies who have embedded into their brain that Microsoft is evil, and they must do all that they can to ensure that the good guys prevail.


How is it that they get this embedded into their brain?


Well, theres lots of ways... Like TV commercials, ads in magazines and online, and in even the strangest of all places...


The customer support center of companys such as Apple who have consistantly pushed, and pushed, and pushed their message that Windows is evil, and Macintosh absolutely flawless.


Even when they are the ones who shipped products that contained the virus, they still haven't take any blame -- they're "angry at themselves" yes... But being angry at oneself doesn't take the blame, nor any level of responsibility. So why are they angry at themselves?


Because they are left having to explain why they just became distributers of a virus, and they're pissed off that they have to try and explain what happened, and why... So they push the blame onto the same target they have been pushing it onto for 15+ years...


Those horrible, virus loving, couldn't turn a computer on without an instructon manual, good for nothing so called software developers up in Redmond, Washington who have been consistantly beat them at EVERY LEVEL they have EVERY attempted to compete with them at.


And who's fault is that? Well of course its Microsoft's fault that Apple doesn't own the desktop market, or the server market, or even the hardware market for that matter.


Why?


Well because thats what they have been preaching since the day they started losing -- And even when they had all but lost, and Microsoft came in with the money to keep them in business --


Well that was Microsoft's fault too, right? I mean, they did have to write the check and all, so naturally that was their fault.


>> there are obviously hackers for hire out there... <<


Yeah, they're are... I wonder why Microsoft would hire hackers to write viruses for their own operating system though? Could it be possible that maybe Apple could have hired the hackers to write the viruses?


Well thats unthinkable, right? I mean, why would Apple want to hire a hacker to write Windows viruses? I mean, its not like they would be enabled to exploit the fact that there are "SO MANY WIndows viruses" in things like commercials, or support forums, or things of that nature, so I guess I'd better just stop right there and forget about such non-sense.


Yeah, why don't I do that...

M. David Peterson
2006-10-19 11:37:11
>> Okay, so I think the answer to your question, where is the outrage? Well, the people with the virus are probably upset. <<


Yeah, probably..


>> However, I think it also has to do with reputation. How many viruses were there in Apple products in the last... forever? <<


One.


>> How about how many viruses were there in Microsoft products... <<


None.


>> not to say shipping products, but in general? <<


Wouldn't a product have to be shipped to be considered a product?


>> There you have the benefit of the doubt. <<


Where? I see one virus for Apple. None for Microsoft.


>> No company is perfect. <<


Well, from the stand point of shipping viruses inside of their products, at least you're half right.


>> I tend to agree with Apple's statement. It is unfortunate the Windows is even vulnerable to such things, but it is Apple's oversight that got the viruses in there. That's what they said. <<


Where? "and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it" suggests that,


a) They *REALLY* wanted to catch that virus, and are upset that they shipped the product before they *could* catch it.


b) They really wish they didn't ship products with Viruses in them, and they're upset with themselves that they did something so unbelievably embarrasing.


>> People seem to think that Apple is blaming MS for the virus. That's not what they said <<


Thats not what they *had* to say...


The application to persuasion is apparent. If we want to strengthen existing attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, inoculation theory suggests that we should present a weak attack on those attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Again, the key word here is, "weak." If the attack is too strong, it will cause the attitude, belief, or behavior to get weaker or even move to the opposite position. The attack has to be strong enough to challenge the defenses of the receiver without overwhelming them.


Here are the steps of effective inoculation:


Warn the receiver of the impending attack.
Make a weak attack.
Get the receiver to actively defend the attitude.


>> and people's knee-jerk reactions, to me, are incorrect. <<


Of course they are.


>> They are saying that it unfortunate that MS's OS is vulnerable while accepting blame for the oversight. <<


Where?


>> and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it. <<


You think that somewhere in that statement they are taking the blame? Once again, being upset is not taking the blame... Is like getting a ticket for speeding, and being upset that they happened to speed past the wrong place at the wrong time. That's not taking blame, that's wishing it didn't happen, and being upset that it did.

M. David Peterson
2006-10-20 15:42:13
@pjm,


I forgot to respond to your point regarding,


>> sounds about as ridiculous as when people talk about "the gay community's reaction"; who constitutes this community? In what sense *are* they are community?) <<


How is calling a "community" of *ANY* type ridiculous?


Just to clarify,


The Windows Community: Those who prefer to engage and interact with machines in which run the Windows operating system.


The GNU/Linux Community: Those who prefer to engage and interact with machines in which use one of the distros which run the GNU/Linux operating system.


The Mac Community: Those who prefer to engage and interact with machines in which run the Macintosh operating system.


The Gay Community: Those who prefer to engage and interact with those who are of the same sex.


The last time I checked, no one in *ANY* of these communities objected to being called a community. Just so we can all be certain,


I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know it is still politically, and therefore, ethically okay to use the term "community" when refering to a group of individuals in which maintain a common trait such as (but not limited to) geographic location, the operating system they prefer to use, and the people in which they prefer to engage and interact with in a social and/or sexual manner.


Any questions?