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The Mac's Invincibility To Viruses


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#1 TechniMan

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 10:36 AM

Why is it that Macs are seen to be impervious to viruses? I was just searching Google for something about Norton 360 (I'll search Bleeping Computer in a minute), and one of the results was another forum about computers, and someone had a problem with Norton, blaming a virus. A reply said 'I'm having the same problem, but it can't be a virus because I've got a Mac'.
I mean, what is all that nonsense? Computers can't be impervious to viruses - can they?
there are 10 types of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't

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#2 lhamil64

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:54 PM

The only reason macs don't get as many viruses as windows is because they are not as common. A virus could be written just as easilly for a mac as it can for a pc. The same is true about Linux distributions.

#3 TechniMan

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:28 PM

yeh, but where did anyone get the idea about the mac's imperviousness to viruses in the first place when it isn't?
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#4 TVT

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 05:31 PM

There is this :thumbsup:

Apple is the most likely culprit for starting that rumor. What better way to sell an OS than to say its virus free?

After doing a little digging, I found out that before OS X, there were viruses for Mac. And while there are currently no wild viruses, there have been several "proof of concept" viruses created over the past few years.
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#5 Andrew

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 06:11 PM

Unix/Linux viruses are much more difficult to write since those operating systems where designed from the ground up with a multi-user paradigm in place: users cannot affect other user's data nor affect system files. The only way to cause any real damage is to be running (either the user or a virus) with root privileges.

Windows, on the other hand, was designed with a single-user paradigm in mind. Later versions of Windows attempted to address this security deficiency, but business sense demanded that they also not break backwards compatibility with programs written for the earlier versions of Windows. This commitment to backwards compatibility has served Microsoft very well in business terms, but at the expense of true security in their operating system. (As an example of this backwards-compatibility, MS Bob, a program written for Windows 3.11 and Windows 95, still works perfectly in Windows XP.) This, coupled with the desire to make Windows as easy to operate as possible even for novice computer users, has made Windows a very insecure Operating System. Microsoft has made great strides in this area with Windows Vista, but their implementation leaves much to be desired. (Compare the Vista User Account Controls to, for example, the gksudo function in Ubuntu or the kdesu function in Kubuntu. All have a similar function and appearance, but few would argue that Vista's UAC is better.)

Mac OS X is built right on top of the BSD Unix Mach kernel and is a certified Unix Compliant OS. For that reason and because of its limited market share Mac OS X (and its Linux/BSD brethren) is, by design and circumstance, more secure than Windows.

#6 Guest_danbrownlow_*

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 07:10 AM

Unix/Linux viruses are much more difficult to write since those operating systems where designed from the ground up with a multi-user paradigm in place: users cannot affect other user's data nor affect system files. The only way to cause any real damage is to be running (either the user or a virus) with root privileges.

Windows, on the other hand, was designed with a single-user paradigm in mind. Later versions of Windows attempted to address this security deficiency, but business sense demanded that they also not break backwards compatibility with programs written for the earlier versions of Windows. This commitment to backwards compatibility has served Microsoft very well in business terms, but at the expense of true security in their operating system. (As an example of this backwards-compatibility, MS Bob, a program written for Windows 3.11 and Windows 95, still works perfectly in Windows XP.) This, coupled with the desire to make Windows as easy to operate as possible even for novice computer users, has made Windows a very insecure Operating System. Microsoft has made great strides in this area with Windows Vista, but their implementation leaves much to be desired. (Compare the Vista User Account Controls to, for example, the gksudo function in Ubuntu or the kdesu function in Kubuntu. All have a similar function and appearance, but few would argue that Vista's UAC is better.)

Mac OS X is built right on top of the BSD Unix Mach kernel and is a certified Unix Compliant OS. For that reason and because of its limited market share Mac OS X (and its Linux/BSD brethren) is, by design and circumstance, more secure than Windows.


That's the best explanation I've ever heard. *Applaud*

#7 mike18xx

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 01:25 PM

Apple's OS market-share is rapidly increasing among HD movie-watchers and gamers due to its lack of DRM "features" which encrust Vista.

#8 zesler

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 11:08 AM

Apple's OS market-share is rapidly increasing among HD movie-watchers and gamers due to its lack of DRM "features" which encrust Vista.

Well, we might be seeing more viruses for the mac in the near future.
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#9 santoro420

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:19 AM

i have been using both apple and windows based systems for 20 years. I have always preferred Mac, but i DID start on one.


As for viruses.... i NEVER had one before... now i have the intel based mac and have some sort of a "bug" (i think it's a trojan) from msn for mac.

So beware.. it is possible, and likely! My problem now... is trying to FIND a program for mac... not alot of virus/ad/spy blocker/remover programs out there for mac. :thumbsup:

#10 zesler

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 06:33 PM

i have been using both apple and windows based systems for 20 years. I have always preferred Mac, but i DID start on one.


As for viruses.... i NEVER had one before... now i have the intel based mac and have some sort of a "bug" (i think it's a trojan) from msn for mac.

So beware.. it is possible, and likely! My problem now... is trying to FIND a program for mac... not alot of virus/ad/spy blocker/remover programs out there for mac. :thumbsup:

Its because people believe macs are "invincible". Its one of the annoying side-effects. Since people think macs are invincible, they don't make programs for macs. So, in essence, if a mac is it, its as good as dead(if its a good virus).
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#11 paperclip57

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 01:28 PM

Not many people have macs or Linux. Just look around. Its easier to write a viruses for windows then mac or Linux. Also a lot more people use windows so you can infect more people. So its easier to do damage and you damage more computers.

#12 Izzy

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 04:41 PM

when i ordered my first Mac over the Phone the guy said to me "Macs don't get viruses etc", i just thought to myself, what a load of crap. The reason being is Viruses are very common for windows because so many people use windows and that means more infections and probably more $$$ on virus programs. High majority of the creators of viruses are probably the makers of the stupid programs. The day will come when Macs get "Out There" because Apple have been booming with accessories like iPod, iPhone, so people new to Apple products will learn, hey they make computers. And Apple sales of Macs are rising.

#13 aommaster

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 06:51 PM

Apple's OS market-share is rapidly increasing among HD movie-watchers and gamers due to its lack of DRM "features" which encrust Vista.

Well, we might be seeing more viruses for the mac in the near future.


Aww.. that's a shame! :flowers:

Not after we have the HJT team and all :thumbsup:

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#14 DoveFat

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 10:51 AM

Hey there, paperclip57,
Guess I ain't most people with my I-Mac writing this.
Another wrote asking if there are antivirus software for Mac. Yes, there's a Norton configuration for $$, Virus Barrier is another $$ antivirus , MacScan will do an online scan of your Mac for $ 25 ( This service MAY attract spybots to your Mac system, my opinion ). Or there's the open source, "Clam XAV "
It is an "on demand" scanner that doesn't real time scan your files for bugs like the scanners on Windows. Clam AV is
written compatible with Windows.
Folks familiar with third party Windows apps s may recall the antivirus "Avast". A Mac version is available, $ 40/ year. That's all I can recall. :thumbsup:
[size=4][b][i][color=#000099]Much health and happiness to you and yours.

#15 Buddyme2

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:39 AM

A virus could be written just as easilly for a mac as it can for a pc.


If one were easily written, then why aren't there any in the wild that will affect a Mac?

The person(s) that successfully creates a virus for a Mac that can propagate will be famous or infamous.

There are no known virus in the wild that will affect a Mac......yet. Well, if you want to count MS Word macros...

I am not saying Mac OS X is impervious to virus, it is not. If OS X was impervious, Apple wouldn't be issuing any security updates every so often. One of these days there will be a virus written for Mac that will successfully propagate and infect other Macs. But for now there are none.

There have been proof of concept trojans that were created but that's all they were, proof that they can be created. And yes there have been a couple of trojans in the last year to affect some Macs, but for the most part it was because the uneducated users that did install them didn't know proper Internet precautions.

I've been using my Mac for a little over two years now and for the first 6 months of using it I ran scans using a commercial AV, and for each scan it didn't detect anything. Same with an anti-spyware trial version program that I had tried. IMO they are just a waste of $$ and resources, CPU and RAM. If any Mac users want to feel secure, I suggest ClamXav and Little Snitch. Those programs coupled with the Mac built in firewall and a router firewall, along with proper Internet precautions, is all one needs for a Mac to be safe until the day a Mac virus appears.

Run searches for anti-virus in various Mac forums and you'll find that they reflect pretty much the same as this on
Macs, viruses, and anti-virus software .




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