As if Apple Newton users didn’t have it bad enough with the 2010 bug, this morning brings news that a new virus is striking the wide-spread MessagePad community.
Called simply “Vista,” the virus struck in the wee hours of the morning, before many Newton users noticed their pioneering device was frozen.
The Newton’s popularity and millions-strong user base made it a prime target for hackers, one expert said.
“It’s a wonder this kind of thing hasn’t been tried before,” Dr. Don Hamaker, an IT professional and recreational putt-putt golfer, said.
The virus seems to mimick an obsolete operating system, and attempts to install on Newton systems randomly. The bug-ridden OS tries to install itself (above), but hangs in the process, leaving eMates and MessagePads inoperable. Users have begun nicknaming the virus’s effects “GSOD” – or “Green Screen of Death.”
Millions of Newton users have reported bricked PDAs to Apple, who couldn’t be reached at the time of this posting. Some are turning to community forums for help and advice.
“This ugly piece of shit is totally wigging me out,” Newton fan prythisstylusfrommycolddeadhands posted on one of the message boards. “Nothing but the beautiful Newton OS belongs on Bessie (that’s what I call my MP2100).”
Experts are stumped as to how to remove the rogue OS virus. Some are calling for Newton users worldwide to unite and fight this growing menace.
“This could be worse than our worst fears,” Dr. Hamaker said. “The only thing that could be worse is if Apple decided to kill off the wildly-successful Newton platform.”
Only one suspect has been arrested on suspicion of releasing the virus into the wild. After Apple made the Newton OS the mobile standard across the product line, threats from a hacker base outside Seattle, WA became more vocal and daring. Authorities said they have other suspects in mind, as well.
In the meantime, and with no word from Apple, the legions of Newton users will be on their own to find a solution – as they’ve done before.