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View Full Version : Will Windows Virus's from Boot Camp Affect OS X?




The_Man
Apr 5, 2006, 10:31 PM
I was just wondering if I am to dual boot into Windows on my intel-mac, and get virus' (which is destined to happen), will this affect the performance of OS X in anyway?

Thanks

(If this is a repeat of an old thread can somone just send me a link and the mods will delete this thread. I used search, but couldn't find anything.)



CanadaRAM
Apr 5, 2006, 10:45 PM
If the Virus is clever enough to erase the entire drive, or damage the hardware (by overheating?) maybe.
Or if it is a virus in a common language like Visual Basic for Applications (the Microsoft Office automation language)

But otherwise, how do you suppose a virus written to execute in one OS can cross the universe and execute in another OS entirely?

dmw007
Apr 5, 2006, 10:50 PM
If the Virus is clever enough to erase the entire drive, or damage the hardware (by overheating?) maybe.
Or if it is a virus in a common language like Visual Basic for Applications (the Microsoft Office automation language)


This is the only way that I could see this happening.

grapes911
Apr 5, 2006, 10:54 PM
If the Virus is clever enough to erase the entire drive, or damage the hardware (by overheating?) maybe.

There are a couple of viruses that are known to get into the MBR and mess things up, but I really wouldn't worry about a Windows virus affecting OS X at all.

ChrisBrightwell
Apr 5, 2006, 11:38 PM
I was just wondering if I am to dual boot into Windows on my intel-mac, and get virus' (which is destined to happen), will this affect the performance of OS X in anyway?Virii are not part of the Windows experience by default. They're part of what happens when you give someone a tool, expect them to know its ins and outs, and leave everything on/open by default.

That said, Windows-borne virii should have little or no effect on your OS X installation, seeing as Windows can't read the HFS+ filesystem. Biggest problem might be a low-level access to the drive that eats the partition table or something, but virii are rarely that destructive anymore.

Most of them just want to turn your machine into a spam relay or a DDoS zombie.

Danksi
Apr 5, 2006, 11:40 PM
Slight de-tour, but I'm occasionally using Virtual PC with Windows XP and a similar thought of virus's crossed my mind. Do I need an anti-virus application in my case?

EDIT: Sorry, I was being lazy. I found an answer in another thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=181521&highlight=vpc+virus).

MJRoseberry
Apr 6, 2006, 01:10 AM
will the macs running xp be vulnerable to viruses?? i'm not really to good at that kinda stuff. its just a question i've been wondering about for awhile. Thanks for any help!!:D

tom1502
Apr 6, 2006, 01:13 AM
no it wont,
of course just the fact, windows is running on a Mac will make it stable and secure... no i am jokin,

windows will stay the same on every platform!

theonlyrealj
Apr 6, 2006, 01:14 AM
Yes you are vulnerable to viruses. See, its the OS not the hardware that determines susceptibility.

superbovine
Apr 6, 2006, 01:15 AM
But otherwise, how do you suppose a virus written to execute in one OS can cross the universe and execute in another OS entirely?

someone wrote and posted a windows/linux viruses that was able to move through different unix,linux, and windows a few years ago. now, a viruses jumping from windows to os x just executing machine code in theory could be possible, but quite hard.

http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/linux.simile.html

{Win32,Linux}/Simile.D is a very complex virus that uses entry-point obscuring, metamorphism, and polymorphic decryption. It is the first known polymorphic metamorphic virus to infect under both Windows and Linux. The virus contains no destructive payload, but infected files may display messages on certain dates. It is the fourth variant of the Simile family. This variant introduces a new infection mechanism on Intel Linux platforms, infecting 32-bit ELF files (a standard Unix binary format). The virus infects Portable Executable (PE) files as well as ELFs on both Linux and Win32 systems. So far Symantec has not received any submissions of this virus from customers.

EricNau
Apr 6, 2006, 01:16 AM
From Apple:

Word to the Wise
Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.

Link (http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/)

MJRoseberry
Apr 6, 2006, 01:17 AM
ok thanks! ive been thinkin bout that for awhile and im just starting to get better at computer stuff.:D

EricNau
Apr 6, 2006, 01:20 AM
I suspect this is going to be the target for virus programers for a while; at least until the novelty wears off.

Bakey
Apr 6, 2006, 01:35 AM
I suspect this is going to be the target for virus programers for a while; at least until the novelty wears off.

I also suspect this particular subject will be the beginning of many threads for the foreseeable future...!!! :D

Doctor Q
Apr 6, 2006, 01:36 AM
About the question of whether your Mac OS X disk partition is vulnerable to a virus that infects the Windows side of your system: I assume the answer is YES.

(Actually the answer might be NO as of today, but will be YES in short order, as virus authors adapt their code for dual-boot Macs.)

vamp07
Apr 6, 2006, 07:09 AM
Catching a virus on the PC is not as easy as most Mac enthusiasts would have you believe.

Applespider
Apr 6, 2006, 07:34 AM
Catching a virus on the PC is not as easy as most Mac enthusiasts would have you believe.

Viruses - no if you've got either a good virus checker or an ISP that checks incoming/outgoing mail. Spyware - yes, although you're obviously more prone to it if you use IE and have interests that take you to odd search results or believe that clicking on toolbars/smileys adverts and popups is a good thing. I believe that most tech-savvy users can keep a PC clean but most home-users aren't savvy and for them it's tough (at least listening to the conversations around my office!)

phoenixjim
Apr 10, 2006, 08:08 PM
These are just my recommendations :)

As soon as you install windows on any machine, I would install a few tools...

Anti-Virus - AVG (www.grisoft.com) - an Excellent program, unlimited free version available (pro costs just over 38 dollars US for 2 years of use).
Spyware tools - Spybot Search and Destroy and Adaware - two great tools. Spywareblaster is a good additional tool as well...
Browser - FireFox. I personally avoid using IE as much as possible because quite a few virii of late seem to have taken advantage of "weaknesses" in either IE or OE.


As I said, these are just my recommendations - but all of these have freely downloadable legal versions, which you can burn to a cd before the install to have them ready :)

Phoenixjim

ChrisBrightwell
Apr 10, 2006, 10:54 PM
Catching a virus on the PC is not as easy as most Mac enthusiasts would have you believe.All you have to do is plug an unprotected machine into the internet. Being infected then becomes a matter of time.

EricNau
Apr 10, 2006, 10:56 PM
All you have to do is plug an unprotected machine into the internet. Being infected then becomes a matter of time.
I heard of a study once (sorry, I don't have the source), and it was an average of 18 minutes before an unprotected computer got a form of malware.

evoluzione
Apr 10, 2006, 11:10 PM
sounds to me like the news of H5N1 bird flu, crossing from birds to humans...

virus affecting a simple thing (bird/PC) crossing over to something better (human/Mac).

Doctor Q
Apr 10, 2006, 11:11 PM
I heard of a study once (sorry, I don't have the source), and it was an average of 18 minutes before an unprotected computer got a form of malware.I'm glad to hear that. I had heard that it was a matter of seconds, e.g., faster than you could launch a program to configure a firewall.

stoid
Apr 10, 2006, 11:13 PM
I heard of a study once (sorry, I don't have the source), and it was an average of 18 minutes before an unprotected computer got a form of malware.

But what system? Unpatched XP? Or SP2? I've heard that SP2 did a pretty good job of protecting a system from those self-propogating worms.

Laser47
Apr 10, 2006, 11:21 PM
From what I have seen, everytime someone has a problem with their computer they say its a virus. When it turns out the person caused the problem and just doesn't want to admit it.

And like said earlier, its not that easy to get a virus. Most of the time its caused by using computers without common sense. Like the people who use P2P to download music, and end up downloading .exe files. Or the click-happy people who just click yes to every ActiveX control that comes up in IE.
The only thing I use to protect my computers is McAfee Virus Scan, and a router, and nothing else. I cant even remember the last time I a virus was detected on any of my computers.

Kingsly
Apr 11, 2006, 12:03 AM
If the Virus is clever enough to erase the entire drive, or damage the hardware (by overheating?) maybe.
Or if it is a virus in a common language like Visual Basic for Applications (the Microsoft Office automation language)

But otherwise, how do you suppose a virus written to execute in one OS can cross the universe and execute in another OS entirely?
...Which is why the only time my MacBook Pro XP sees the 'net is at LAN parties. (and thats just a local network!)

jaromski
Apr 11, 2006, 12:40 AM
it seems like XP/SP2 is pretty good as long as you completely disable all inbound/outbound network activity. yeah you can download your fancy AV programs, enable your ingress "firewall" and feel safe, well as safe as you can feel, but to truly feel secure, DISABLE ALL WINDOWS NETWORKING APPS.

perhaps a bit draconian, another workable solution i've found is to use as few "networkable" apps as possible. the more programs you have with internet/network access, the more likely your windows system will get hosed. plus do you really need a web browser / email client / chat / ftp app duplicated across both systems?

i think the beauty here is that apple has put XP in its place as a legacy system. it is brilliant they don't intend on supporting vista because WHO CARES ABOUT VISTA. there are a few windows apps i need to run for whatever, but for the most part i will use my mac for x/y/z/etc.

now, back on topic, there is a possible data hazard involved in loading multiple systems on separate partitions; for both XP and OSX. possible but not that probable. it is more probable that XP will eat ***** before OS/X, at least that has always been my experience. but it does feel icky to have both systems co-existing on the same hardware. somehow deep inside something tells me bad things will happen.

but then again life is more fun when you live dangerously.

ChrisBrightwell
Apr 11, 2006, 12:43 AM
Most of the time its caused by using computers without common sense. Like the people who use P2P to download music, and end up downloading .exe files. Or the click-happy people who just click yes to every ActiveX control that comes up in IE.You just described the vast majority of PC users.

Whiteapple
Apr 11, 2006, 03:59 AM
why would you need to give xp the right to go on the internet?
(ok, if you play online games, i'd understand)
OSX is much more secure for the internet.
Nevertheless, for windows updates, and for occasional online game, I have set up these:

BitDefender Professional Plus 9
Sbybot
Adaware

hope this helps

HenryB
Apr 11, 2006, 04:31 AM
Mate,

Having just bought an iMac and installing boot camp I feel that the best options is: use OSX for anything web related and leave your windows partition with no internet browser at all! Do the Windows upgrades and nothing else.
I see the functionality of windows as just a means to keep on using legacy software for switchers (like myself). Keep your web browsing/working for OSX.

ewinemiller
Apr 11, 2006, 06:17 AM
My MacBook Pro came in yesterday and I'm using MacDrive on the XP install so that I can read my OSX disk. Should a virus come along that does the destructive thing, it could trash the data or OSX install on that partition though it couldn't execute under OSX (that may change, saw a note about a virus the other day that infected Linux and/or Windows, wouldn't be surprised to see multiplatform viruses become more common).

Having said that, I'm not particularly worried. I keep my virus protection up to date, email is scanned and scrubbed on the server, run a firewall, don't run unexpected attachments, most of the time I'm also behind a hardware NAT firewall, and the last time I got infected by a virus was...uh, never.

Glen Quagmire
Apr 11, 2006, 06:21 AM
The plural of "virus" is "viruses", not "virus's".

I've never had a virus in six years of Windows use. Be careful and there's nothing to worry about. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and use Adaware/Spybot on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, on my Mac, I don't have to worry (much) about anything like that. It's just such an enjoyable computing experience in comparison.

As for viruses affecting OS X, just format Windows as NTFS, keep both OSs separate and use a USB stick to transfer stuff between the two.

ManchesterTrix
Apr 11, 2006, 08:19 AM
All you have to do is plug an unprotected machine into the internet. Being infected then becomes a matter of time.

Unless of course you have a router/firewall setup which you should regardless of whether you use OS X or Windows.

andiwm2003
Apr 11, 2006, 08:58 AM
The plural of "virus" is "viruses", not "virus's".

.................................


and it's certainly not virii! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virii :p



but back to the topic:

my two main concerns are:

the virus deletes/messes up the OS X partition

the virus infects files on the OS X partition. that doesn't affect OS X but the virus can be passed on to windows systems when I transfer the files.

are there any examples for this from using Virtual PC?

howesey
Apr 11, 2006, 09:10 AM
The virus will only effect the partition that Windows is installed on. Unless the malware has a HFS+ engine and can recognise OS X. So, a virus from Windows will not effect OS X.


As for transfering a virus onto the Windows partition from OS X. OS X cannot write to an NTFS drive. Also, to my knowledge, there are no worms on OS X that would spread over a system. UNIX is too closed and secure to allow this.

Doctor Q
Apr 11, 2006, 02:52 PM
The virus will only effect the partition that Windows is installed on. Unless the malware has a HFS+ engine and can recognise OS X. So, a virus from Windows will not effect OS X.This point has been made a couple of times, but why do we dismiss the "unless" in your sentence so easily? Won't writing just such code (to recognize and affect the Mac filesystem) now become a hacker goal?

Doctor Q
Apr 11, 2006, 04:08 PM
CNET article: Windows security on your Mac (http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3513_7-6486371-1.html).The Windows system can't read or write to the Mac partition. However, third-party software may eliminate some of these barriers. And while there have been dual-platform viruses in the past, they've been strictly proof-of-concept and, therefore, not a true threat to users at home. The availability of dual-system Macs may change that.

unixfool
Apr 11, 2006, 05:03 PM
I heard of a study once (sorry, I don't have the source), and it was an average of 18 minutes before an unprotected computer got a form of malware.

About two years ago, I flew to Texas to visit a home that my wife lived in before she got shipped to Iraq. The computers had been offline for about 6 months and my wife had the cable internet cut off while she was away. A few months prior to my arrival, MS Blaster had rocked the world. I needed to get online with one of the computers, so I made a connection via dialup. As soon as connectivity to the internet was established, the machine was infected with MS Blaster....I'd say within 5 seconds of connecting.

I was in a ridiculous situation. I knew that the machine would probably be infected when I connected but not THAT soon. There was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't receive the MS patches without going online. SP2 wasn't out yet. The machine didn't have any type of firewall already in place. I had no software on CDs that I could install before going online that day.

Within an hour of the infection, I was able to clean Blaster from the system and apply the patch. I then spent ages trying to download all the patches that were released in the last six months...on dialup.

When I returned to VA and work, I explained all this to my coworkers. Since I work for a managed security services provider, this story had value to myself and my coworkers.

BTW, any software that emulates a Windows environment or actually runs a true Windows environment is going to be vulnerable to Windows-based malware. This includes Wine and VMware, amongst others. This was discussed years ago. With Mac systems, the only things that will be affected will be the Windows install, not the Mac install, UNLESS someone gets creative and creates malware that would attach itself to the Windows install on a Mac system, then mutate into something that could affect Mac systems (maybe by taking advantage of a pre-existing or 0-day vulnerability). It can happen.

unixfool
Apr 11, 2006, 05:14 PM
CNET article: Windows security on your Mac (http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3513_7-6486371-1.html).

I can see this happening if someone has 3rd party tools installed that simplifies gaining access to filesystems. There are tools for Windows that gives access to Linux partitions, for example. Tools such as ExploreFS do this. I'm not aware of any tools that will do this on Mac systems though.

I'm not going to say that the Mac FS is inaccessible from a locally installed Windows system, though. Anything is possible. Windows has a history of being insecure...installing it on a system that is proven to be more secure is asking for trouble, IMO. The system is only going to be as strong as its weakest link. For now, there may not be issues, but I'm pretty sure some cracker(s) out there is(are) already crafting something that will bridge the Windows/Mac gap to take advantage of an insecure install of Windows running on a Mac system. Sure, vulnerabilities rarely affect hardware, but if two OSs are sharing the same hardware with one of those OSs being insecure, the whole machine will eventually become a risk.

grapes911
Apr 11, 2006, 06:45 PM
This point has been made a couple of times, but why do we dismiss the "unless" in your sentence so easily? Won't writing just such code (to recognize and affect the Mac filesystem) now become a hacker goal?
Maybe. But I think this is a great time to use the old argument, "Because Macs have such a small share of the market, they are not a big target for hackers. If they ever become popular, then we will see Mac viruses." I generally find this to be crap, but I do think it holds true in this case. I know it only takes one hacker to make a virus, but I doubt it will be a huge problem. Only time will tell though.

pirescoelho90
Dec 1, 2009, 06:21 PM
I am thinking of installing XP on my MBP with bootcamp, but i'm a little bit worried about the viruses. Not because of the windows security problems (I won't connect my MBP to the internet when using windows, i'll use it only to play games), but because of the windows viruses I might have stored on my OSX HD partition. I know that the viruses wont harm my osx, but I was wondering if they can move themselves to my windows partition (note that they haven't been executed yet), execute themselves there, and then infect my system?
Is that possible?

thanks for the replies!

thejadedmonkey
Dec 1, 2009, 06:47 PM
I am thinking of installing XP on my MBP with bootcamp, but i'm a little bit worried about the viruses. Not because of the windows security problems (I won't connect my MBP to the internet when using windows, i'll use it only to play games), but because of the windows viruses I might have stored on my OSX HD partition. I know that the viruses wont harm my osx, but I was wondering if they can move themselves to my windows partition (note that they haven't been executed yet), execute themselves there, and then infect my system?
Is that possible?

thanks for the replies!

1. Why do you store virus's on your computer?
2. The Windows virus's won't harm a computer if they're never run.
3. If you get windows virus's on OS X, sooner or later you're going to catch an OS X one that does harm your system, I'd think about changing your web habits.

pirescoelho90
Dec 1, 2009, 07:21 PM
1. Why do you store virus's on your computer?
2. The Windows virus's won't harm a computer if they're never run.
3. If you get windows virus's on OS X, sooner or later you're going to catch an OS X one that does harm your system, I'd think about changing your web habits.

1- I didn't mean that I stored them. what I was saying was that while surfing the web and downloading stuff I could get a windows virus (cause they are a lot more common) that would stay on my HD without me noticing it, cause it wouldn't harm my osx.

2- So, according to what you said, the virus cant duplicate itself or move to the windows partition without being executed first?

3- I was worried about the OSX viruses, because i do a lot of downloads. After seaching in some forums, I found two opinions: a) mac is completely secure and you dont have to worry, and b) there are viruses for osx (only a few, but there are).
Since I am always freaked out about security and viruses, I went to an apple store asking for an antivirus for mac and they told me not to worry cause there were no viruses for mac, so the antivirus isn't needed.

So, are there viruses for mac? and should i be concerned if i use XP with bootcamp even if just for gaming, disconnected from the internet?

I apologize for all the questions, but I am a new mac user. Switched from vista to snow leopard about two weeks ago, and i'm loving it (what a difference!). But, as former vista user, i am still very worried about viruses and trojans.

thanks a lot

CylonGlitch
Dec 1, 2009, 09:35 PM
So, are there viruses for mac? and should i be concerned if i use XP with bootcamp even if just for gaming, disconnected from the internet?

I apologize for all the questions, but I am a new mac user. Switched from vista to snow leopard about two weeks ago, and i'm loving it (what a difference!). But, as former vista user, i am still very worried about viruses and trojans.

There are no real viruses on the Mac, there have been a few trojans but all of what has been made so far (for OSX) require user interaction to install and run. There are no freely replicating viruses that can infect your system without your knowledge.

If you're running bootcamp, your windows partition can get infected and cause issues. But normally windows can not read or write the Mac partitions. BUT that doesn't mean they are safe; a windows virus can very easily muck with the partition tables and destroy ALL partitions in the system. BUT, fortunately, this type of behavior isn't very common. Most viruses are damaging to files mostly because of the replication and distribution so that they can turn the machines into zombies; they don't want you to lose data because then they can't get your machine. Also windows protects the partition tables a little better.

I wouldn't worry too much about it though, you're going to be much safer if you just use bootcamp to play games that you've purchased.