New To Mac-Forums?

Welcome to our community! Join the discussion today by registering your FREE account. If you have any problems with the registration process, please contact us!

Get your questions answered by community gurus • Advice and insight from world-class Apple enthusiasts • Exclusive access to members-only contests, giveaways and deals

Join today!

 
Start a Discussion
 

Mac-Forums Brief

Subscribe to Mac-Forums Brief to receive special offers from Mac-Forums partners and sponsors

Join the conversation RSS
Apple Rumors and Reports Discuss what's going on with Apple in this forum

Is Mac OS X really safer from virus attacks?


Post Reply New Thread Subscribe

 
Thread Tools
Murlyn

 
Murlyn's Avatar
 
Member Since: Jun 11, 2003
Location: Mount Vernon, WA
Posts: 4,909
Murlyn is a name known to allMurlyn is a name known to allMurlyn is a name known to allMurlyn is a name known to allMurlyn is a name known to allMurlyn is a name known to allMurlyn is a name known to all
Mac Specs: MacBook Pro 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM OS 10.5.2

Murlyn is offline
Source: MacMinute.com

In his latest column for the Baltimore Sun, David Zeiler takes a look at the current state of virus problems for Windows and Mac users. Is Mac OS X really more secure, or are hackers simply ignoring the Mac and focusing on Windows machines? "As the latest Microsoft Windows infection spread across the Internet last week, knocking out thousands of PCs in homes and businesses, Macintosh users did what they usually do during a computer virus outbreak -- they continued working." Update: Sam Diaz has written a similar article for the Mercury News -- "Mac users watch from sidelines."
QUOTE Thanks
nko
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

One thing I do believe that goes against what a lot of people say is that security through obscurity does count. It's just got the caveat of not being a *real* security feature. It's got it's ups and downs, but so do almost all security features.

I'm willing to bet that MacOS X and most other UNIXes have, beside the security through obscurity advantage, a decent edge over Windows. Not a great one, but still, an edge.

Of course, Windows programming is so much more out there and difficult compared to MacOS X or UNIX that it just may well go the other way
QUOTE Thanks
schweb

 
schweb's Avatar
 
Member Since: Oct 27, 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 13,198
schweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond reputeschweb has a reputation beyond repute
Mac Specs: MacBook Pro | LED Cinema Display | iPhone 4 | iPad 2

schweb is offline
I'm part of the better safe than sorry crowd so I do run Norton Antivirus 9.0 on my iBook and will on my Mac desktop when I get it. I do this for several reasons:

1. You never know when a worm or virus might be written for OS X
2. I work in a mixed computing environment and I want to be a good citizen by protecting myself from passing on Windows viruses even if I can't be infected by them. This has already happened more than 1 time.

schweb | community leader
flickr » facebook » twitter » tumblr » google+ » about.me

Mac-Forums: On Twitter | On Facebook | On Flickr

QUOTE Thanks
MacAddikt

 
MacAddikt's Avatar
 
Member Since: Dec 30, 2002
Location: Sunny So Cal
Posts: 2,118
MacAddikt is a glorious beacon of lightMacAddikt is a glorious beacon of lightMacAddikt is a glorious beacon of lightMacAddikt is a glorious beacon of lightMacAddikt is a glorious beacon of lightMacAddikt is a glorious beacon of light
Mac Specs: G5•2x1.8•1.5•320•8x+/-

MacAddikt is offline
my biggest fear is if people were to write Applescript viruses. you can do almost anything with them. also the Safari auto run script on download, thats way to easy to figure out what harm can be done with it. since its UNIX based, i dont worry too much though

QUOTE Thanks
*Q*
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

Applescript will tell you it is going to run a script and asks for your permission, so it is YOUR fault if you run a dirty script you found while downloading dirty pictures...

i was disappointed by the mac/pc ads boasting about their lack of viruses and bursting the "sphere of invisibility." In the long run, though, this is a good thing, especially with so much specific feedback on security holes from benign sources such as McAfee and SANS before a potential deluge of new attacks.

On the other hand, maybe the authors of all those millions of Windows attacks are using Macs to do it... Hey, Steve! What are those programmers doing in that super-secret back room?
QUOTE Thanks
middigit

 
middigit's Avatar
 
Member Since: Oct 20, 2006
Location: Sunderland in the UK
Posts: 20
middigit is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: mac mini g4 1.42mz 80gig hd superdrive bluetooth and airport + ibook 12" g4 800mhz

middigit is offline
i'd rather be safe than sorry to but happen to have the oppinion that norton on macs sucks big time as it did on my pc - i use intego netbarrier and virusbarrier on my mac mini and ibook

and as far a applescript viruses go - that would be bloody scary indeed
QUOTE Thanks
baggss

 
baggss's Avatar
 
Member Since: Oct 10, 2004
Location: Margaritaville
Posts: 10,309
baggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond reputebaggss has a reputation beyond repute
Mac Specs: 27" 3.4 Ghz i7 iMac-13" C2D Macbook-OSX 18.8.2-64Gb iPad 2-32 Gb iPhone 5-ATV 2-14Tb of Storage

baggss is offline
I don't find them scary. If I download something and it asks to install anything that doesn't seem right, you just click no. Any App that would have such a virus attached would not be coming from a reputable source to begin with.


QUOTE Thanks
D3v1L80Y

 
D3v1L80Y's Avatar
 
Member Since: Feb 02, 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 12,459
D3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond reputeD3v1L80Y has a reputation beyond repute
Mac Specs: MacBook

D3v1L80Y is offline
I don't find it scary either... especially when this thread was from three years ago and there still hasn't been any viruses yet. :black:

__________________________________________________
Posting and YOU|Forum Community Guidelines|The Apple Product Cycle|Forum Courtesy

mac: a waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric
MAC: a data communication protocol sub-layer, also known as the Media Access Control
Mac: a brand name which covers several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc.

QUOTE Thanks
lonerider

 
lonerider's Avatar
 
Member Since: Feb 24, 2005
Posts: 150
lonerider will become famous soon enough
Mac Specs: iBook G4 1.2 1.25Gig RAM Emac 1.42Ghz 1GB RAM

lonerider is offline
The press and public really just don't know what a virus is.

If I send you an email with a malicious executable, and you run it (on any computer), then the fault is really all yours.

The difference here is that the executable isn't self sustaining. Even if part of what it does on execution is email itself to everyone in your address book, it still took you to do something to make that happen and it will take similar stupidity on the part of the other email receipients.

On a Windows box, however, its entirely possible and even likely that merely connecting it to the internet without protection will result in being hacked. ie, real virus' do not need the user to *do* anything beyond turning the machine on.

With Windows you do not need to open anything to get hacked, don't even need to start up an email client. Just plug it in out of the box and boom.

I have yet to see a Mac virus like that.
QUOTE Thanks
Alexis

 
Alexis's Avatar
 
Member Since: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 2,255
Alexis is a jewel in the roughAlexis is a jewel in the roughAlexis is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo

Alexis is offline
I don't think the smaller market share prevents people writing worms and viruses. If you're a virus writer, you're most likely an egomaniac. They all want to write something that will destroy as much as possible and get publicity for it. You'd get a lot of publicity if you could write a Mac virus that really did some damage. The BBC website occasionally has news stories about Mac viruses, although they are tame in comparison to Windows ones.

Of course, the problem is distributing viruses when only 6% of computers are Macs.

There's no doubting Windows is poor security wise, although things are much better now with all the MS updates installed and IE7.

I tried to load up a WinXP CD from 2001 on a computer I built for my dad. As soon as you connected to the internet, it got swamped by viruses and malware. The only websites I went on were Google and Microsoft, yet it was impossible to patch the thing. Viruses grabbed the network connection and constantly disconnected or connected to servers in order to download more malware.

If you think Windows is well written, just try using it with no service packs. It's like a colander covered in plasters.
QUOTE Thanks
cazabam

 
cazabam's Avatar
 
Member Since: Jun 06, 2006
Posts: 1,153
cazabam is a glorious beacon of lightcazabam is a glorious beacon of lightcazabam is a glorious beacon of lightcazabam is a glorious beacon of lightcazabam is a glorious beacon of lightcazabam is a glorious beacon of light
Mac Specs: MacBook 2.0GHz White, 512MB RAM, 60GB HDD

cazabam is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonerider
If I send you an email with a malicious executable, and you run it (on any computer), then the fault is really all yours.
I agree, the question of whether it is "possible" to write a piece of software that does unpleasant things for OS X is a completely different question to whether OS X is susceptible to viruses.

Trojans and Malware are almost as possible as they are on Windows. I say almost, because by default OS X doesn't run with admin privileges, and does request a password or outright refuse to mess with the system. From that point of view, it's entirely possible to create a piece of malicious software, but as you rightly point out, it is the user, not the system, that is susceptible to it. If the user doesn't run it, it can't do anything, and if the user does run it, it can do anything that user has permission to do.
QUOTE Thanks
digital john

 
digital john's Avatar
 
Member Since: Mar 21, 2006
Location: new jersey
Posts: 284
digital john has a spectacular aura about
Mac Specs: 20" iMac G5, 4G 40gb, G4 iBook

digital john is offline
Does the fact that OSX is Unix based have any effect on the fact that OSX is more or less invulnerable to viruses?

I never actually knew why OSX was virus free.... =\

QUOTE Thanks
Alexis

 
Alexis's Avatar
 
Member Since: Apr 20, 2006
Posts: 2,255
Alexis is a jewel in the roughAlexis is a jewel in the roughAlexis is a jewel in the rough
Mac Specs: Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo

Alexis is offline
I think it's the way Windows uses ActiveX, and the lack of permission required for program installation. It's too easy for any program to download itself and run amok.

Windows is still based on the same shell as Windows 95, although XP is more based on NT nowadays. There are still plenty of Windows 95 icons in XP if you know where to look!
QUOTE Thanks
Sherman Homan

 
Member Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posts: 897
Sherman Homan is a jewel in the roughSherman Homan is a jewel in the roughSherman Homan is a jewel in the rough

Sherman Homan is offline
I agree with Alexis, there would be huge publicity for a virus writer to be the first to create a real Mac virus. I still use Symantec anti-virus just to prevent PeeCee viruses from being transferred through my machine.
The UNIX roots of Mac OS X help in making it more secure, but ultimately, if you go to funky sites and downloads weird stuff, the user is the weakest link!
QUOTE Thanks
lonerider

 
lonerider's Avatar
 
Member Since: Feb 24, 2005
Posts: 150
lonerider will become famous soon enough
Mac Specs: iBook G4 1.2 1.25Gig RAM Emac 1.42Ghz 1GB RAM

lonerider is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by digital john View Post
Does the fact that OSX is Unix based have any effect on the fact that OSX is more or less invulnerable to viruses?

I never actually knew why OSX was virus free.... =\

It isn't really by virtue of it being Unix, but rather that unix and esp the FreeBSD core of OS X has been open for a long time (unix was developed in the 70s), so the core code of the OS has been viewed by millions of programmers and attacked by millions of hackers. Unix had some nasty virus' in the late 80s and early 90s.

As the old saying, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Unix has been made a lot stronger.

That said, the post about ActiveX was dead on. Windows securty nightmares really can be traced to Internet Explorer and all the apps that use the interoperability features of it (like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger, and all the MS Office apps).

The ability of IE to run ActiveX and Visual Basic programs off the internet without the user knowing it, combined with weak protection for the UI and controls such as OLE, are what is killing Windows. As an aside, If you want to see the future for Vista security, look at the fiasco surrounding IE 7.

All of this is so heavily integrated into Windows now, I really don't see it going away.
QUOTE Thanks

Post Reply New Thread Subscribe


« ipod Phone On Way | Apple + Google + Phone!!! »
Thread Tools

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Mac Songs The mac 13 Switcher Hangout 7 05-06-2010 12:35 AM
virus for mac Danster Schweb's Lounge 9 02-14-2005 05:05 PM
Any real need for virus software with Mac OS X Panther? Joel Switcher Hangout 11 01-04-2005 09:17 PM
Mac virus Maju Apple Notebooks 6 10-27-2004 10:38 AM
Mac Users Get More ISP Choices schweb Apple Rumors and Reports 1 03-06-2003 10:57 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
X

Welcome to Mac-Forums.com

Create your username to jump into the discussion!

New members like you have made this community the ultimate source for your Mac since 2003!


(4 digit year)

Already a member?