Mac OS X Virus Writing Contest Halted

Citing complaints from Mac users, as well as fears of legal action, Apple accessory manufacturer DVForge cancelled its virus-writing contest for Mac OS X. The company planned to award $25,000 to the first person who could successfully infect two of the company's G5 computers connected to the Internet running OS X 10.3 without antivirus or firewall protection.

Jack Campbell, CEO of DVForge, said he organized the contest after last week's comments by Symantec saying the Mac platform, with its increasing popularity, would soon be the target of virus and spyware authors.

"I became convinced by Friday that actually constructing a new virus that would self-propagate across the Internet, to multiple OS X Macs on which none of the OEM settings had been disabled, was an impossibility," he wrote in a statement.

However, after announcing the contest, Campbell and DVForge came under immediate criticism. Mac users complained that he was using the contest as a publicity stunt for his company, and "was putting the entire Mac world at risk."

Campbell disagreed with those who criticized the contest and argued the "overstated virus threat is costing our platform hundreds of thousands of new users, new users that would further fuel commerce in our platform, further improve the general health of our platform, and the increase breadth of products and services that migrate to our platform."

The company maintains the contest was only cancelled due to issues of legality. While Mac users complaints were taken into account, the contest would have gone on if there would have been no legal issues, Campbell said.

"I still am at the point where I really want to actually see the gun that's been supposedly aimed at my head for four years."

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