60 Minutes missed the elephant in the room

On 60 Minutes tonight Lesley Stahl did a story on the Conficker worm with a huge omission.

The piece starts off with "The Internet is infected". This is not true. Windows computers are infected. Macs are not. Neither are Linux based personal computers.

Perhaps Ms. Stahl got the wrong impression based on who she interviewed. In the story she spoke with someone from Symantec, a company that profits from selling anti-malware software to Windows users. They are the last people on the planet who are going to bring up the subject of Macs or Linux.

Couldn't CBS find a Mac and a Linux proponent to point out, in an equally self-serving way, how their operating systems are not the target of the bad guys?

Better yet, where was the impartial observer? Steve Gibson comes to mind.

The discussion could have been about malware on Windows rather than just on Conficker. Is it being spread by people who pirated the operating system and thus don't install patches? Is it behind the rise of Macs? Is it too hard to apply patches to all the installed software? There are many fascinating angles here. 

60 Minutes and Lesley Stahl blew it big time.

Update March 30, 2009:  Maybe Lesley Stahl's boss would not let her mention the fact that Conficker is Windows only? Over at TVBarn, Aaron Barnhart says

... as a media guy, I couldn't help but notice that CBS has had millions of dollars thrown at it by Microsoft Windows for a new ad campaign running during the NCAA tournament. And yet, I waited in vain for any mention in the "60 Minutes" story of the fact that the only computers capable of being infected by the dreaded Conficker virus were PCs running Windows.

Is 60 Minutes incompetent (my initial reaction) or conflicted (as Barnhart implies)? That is the question.

See also: The Conficker worm on 60 Minutes

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