Author Topic: The Mac Virus Myth  (Read 1157 times)

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Offline minasoliman

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The Mac Virus Myth
« on: February 20, 2011, 08:39:00 PM »
From Mac virus onslaught in 2011? Not so fast:

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Is it really true that it's only a matter of time before Macintosh users are under siege by a flood of viruses and malware? McAfee announced recently that 2011 would be a bad year for people using Apple computers, as hackers will be increasingly attracted by growing Mac market share. It's not at all hard to find experts who agree.

The thing is, they also agreed back on July 18, 2010, June 17, 2010, April 9, 2008, and October 20, 2006, among many other dates in the past which I didn't bother excavating from Google. Remember that horrible Christmas of 2006, when all of your Macs broke simultaneously?

Me neither.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 08:42:45 PM »
I've been virus free on a Mac for a very long time. I wouldn't be surprised if people started making them more now to target macs because of the increase in market share.

Owning a Mac though is very expensive.
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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2011, 09:33:52 PM »
There is no point attacking OS X.  Their market share is still very small (under 7%) when you look at home users, and servers don't run it.  If you want to form a botnet or just disrupt a lot of machines, why target an OS with so few nodes. 

It will increase though, because hackers love mobile platforms, and iOS is a juicy target.  Since iOS is derived from OS X, it will only be natural to attack it too.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 09:48:33 PM »
But it's been shown that creating a virus for Macs are not as easy as the PC, but Malware, probably yes:

http://antivirus.about.com/od/macintoshresource/tp/macvirusfaqs.htm
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Unlike Windows, Mac OS X applications don't share a common registry. Mac OS X applications use individual preference files, thus the types of global configuration changes which enable so much of Windows malware is simply not as feasible on a Mac. Further, root access is needed in order for malware to interact with other programs (i.e. steal passwords, intercept transmissions, etc.).

If you have Java enabled in your browser, it already has root access. Best bet: disable Java.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2011, 09:54:35 PM »
But it's been shown that creating a virus for Macs are not as easy as the PC, but Malware, probably yes:

http://antivirus.about.com/od/macintoshresource/tp/macvirusfaqs.htm
Quote
Unlike Windows, Mac OS X applications don't share a common registry. Mac OS X applications use individual preference files, thus the types of global configuration changes which enable so much of Windows malware is simply not as feasible on a Mac. Further, root access is needed in order for malware to interact with other programs (i.e. steal passwords, intercept transmissions, etc.).

If you have Java enabled in your browser, it already has root access. Best bet: disable Java.


This is all true, but Entscheidung is right. It is the iOS that is going to get played with, especially on unlocked and jailbroken stuff.

The virus I get in Apple is when they "update" their iOS to attempt to circumvent the unlocked phones. I spend an evening afterward taking care of my folks' phone.

I am smart and an adult therefore I use a Blackberry.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2011, 09:56:25 PM »
But it's been shown that creating a virus for Macs are not as easy as the PC, but Malware, probably yes:

http://antivirus.about.com/od/macintoshresource/tp/macvirusfaqs.htm
Quote
Unlike Windows, Mac OS X applications don't share a common registry. Mac OS X applications use individual preference files, thus the types of global configuration changes which enable so much of Windows malware is simply not as feasible on a Mac. Further, root access is needed in order for malware to interact with other programs (i.e. steal passwords, intercept transmissions, etc.).

If you have Java enabled in your browser, it already has root access. Best bet: disable Java.


This is all true, but Entscheidung is right. It is the iOS that is going to get played with, especially on unlocked and jailbroken stuff.

The virus I get in Apple is when they "update" their iOS to attempt to circumvent the unlocked phones. I spend an evening afterward taking care of my folks' phone.

I am smart and an adult therefore I use a Blackberry.

True, but that's if and only if the iOS is jailbroken.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2011, 11:25:10 PM »
A virus might actually be an improvement.
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Offline theo philosopher

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2011, 12:18:14 PM »
The argument on the market share doesn't make a lot of sense to me - a lot of guys who write virus software also don't generally like people who use Macs. Even though in the US Macs account for 10% of the market share, if you successfully created a virus for Mac users you'd get exponentially more attention than if you created one for Windows.

So while attacking Windows gives you more victims, attacking a Mac gives you more notoriety and news time. Going off the typical profile of someone who knows how to create and distribute viruses, if they're just creating a nuisance it makes more sense for them to attack Macs. If they're trying to collect credit cards and information, then yes, attacking Windows makes far more sense.

My whole point is this - creating a virus for OsX is far more difficult than creating one for Windows. Now of course it can be done, but it's harder because of how OS X functions. So I'll stick with my Mac. :)
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Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2011, 12:24:33 PM »
From what I understand there are no iPhone viruses yet. Am I correct? And to others who say that the iOS will be cracked easily. Why?

Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2011, 04:17:30 PM »
From what I understand there are no iPhone viruses yet. Am I correct? And to others who say that the iOS will be cracked easily. Why?

Cause it constantly is.

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Offline Fr. George

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2011, 04:38:37 PM »
Macs may not have viruses, but (*shock*) the two macs that I spent a lot of time on (one in the late 90s and one in the 05-07 range) crashed more than my PCs of those eras did.  Apple has done some wonderful things to make things easier for folks (if you had told me 10 years ago that my mom would be making home videos on a computer, I would have had you committed to an institution for the insane), but I don't buy the myth that they're worry-free.
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: The Mac Virus Myth
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2011, 10:05:06 PM »
Macs may not have viruses, but (*shock*) the two macs that I spent a lot of time on (one in the late 90s and one in the 05-07 range) crashed more than my PCs of those eras did.  Apple has done some wonderful things to make things easier for folks (if you had told me 10 years ago that my mom would be making home videos on a computer, I would have had you committed to an institution for the insane), but I don't buy the myth that they're worry-free.

When they moved to a un*x based OS, I switched.

I wouldn't use my laptop they way I used my un*x boxes which were only booted for kernel updates, but I have never had a problem with my laptops.

And hardware wise, especially with the new chasis, they are physically tough. I put my hardware through grinder, a reason why I can't have a toy like an Android or iPhone as a phone.

Had a white iBook. It was dropped, crossed oceans, was strapped to my back on 45 minutes bike commutes, dropped, used a impromptu table tap, spilled on, burnt (yes, burnt) and never died.

Gave it away to someone who had nothing after having it for five years and was upgrading to the aluminum iBook.
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