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View Full Version : Windows users besieged - Mac users not.


voicegy
Jun 8, 2004, 03:08 AM
Happend upon this recently and I think it's a helpful and beautifully written piece:

"Hereís a billion-dollar question: Why are Windows users besieged by security exploits, but Mac users are not?"

"We all benefit from the fact that the Mac community has zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. Not just zero tolerance for security exploits, but zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. In fact, there is zero tolerance in the Mac community for crapware of any kind. [...] Arguing that itís technically possible that the Mac could suffer just as many security exploits as Windows is like arguing that a good neighborhood could suddenly find itself strewn with garbage and plagued by vandalism and serious crime. Possible, yes, but not likely. The security disparity between the Mac and Windows isnít so much about technical possibilities as it is about what people will tolerate."

http://daringfireball.net/2004/06/broken_windows

wrldwzrd89
Jun 8, 2004, 07:17 AM
I agree - this article is well written and gets its point across perfectly. It makes me feel proud to be a Mac user, contributing to the common good of the Mac community.

boomtopper
Jun 8, 2004, 07:45 AM
I titally agree with this article. Macs are extremely secure. But i was a little bit worried about that safari security hole but apple has now patched it up. I thought apple might take longer with it!
But sometimes i do wonder why people use windows. The amount of viruses are just enourmous!

wrldwzrd89
Jun 8, 2004, 07:48 AM
I titally agree with this article. Macs are extremely secure. But i was a little bit worried about that safari security hole but apple has now patched it up. I thought apple might take longer with it!
But sometimes i do wonder why people use windows. The amount of viruses are just enourmous!
Do you realize that Apple patched it so quickly because its severity became critical if it was exploited along with another vulnerability that the recent security update also patched? That was the explanation given in an article regarding the update.

question fear
Jun 8, 2004, 08:48 AM
Do you realize that Apple patched it so quickly because its severity became critical if it was exploited along with another vulnerability that the recent security update also patched? That was the explanation given in an article regarding the update.

right, but it was still quicker than comparable patches (at times) on the windows side.
the other thing to remember is that windows will sometimes get a patch out in time, but people won't/can't download it. it's an education as well as a quality issue.
-carly

thejazzman10
Jun 8, 2004, 09:05 AM
I titally agree with this article.
ROTHLMAO!!! :eek: :D ;)

Abstract
Jun 8, 2004, 09:12 AM
Apple got warnings of those security vulnerabilities months ago. Even Steve admitted it. I read it on one of the many many many rumours and articles that I've read here over the past day, so sorry, no link.

Apple isn't plagued with viruses because Mac users and those who use Macs do not want to create anything of the sort. Microsoft is popular enough and hated enough that someone is likely to make something to harms others as a joke....for fun and a good laugh.

I don't think it has anything to do with what Mac users will tolerate. Its just that not enough people use Macs to make it worth it for some idiot to learn and explore Mac architecture and find a vulnerability. They'd rather do it to their own OS....the one they know and don't give a toot about.

SiliconAddict
Jun 8, 2004, 09:42 AM
I Totally agree with this article. Macs are extremely secure. But i was a little bit worried about that safari security hole but apple has now patched it up. I thought apple might take longer with it!
But sometimes i do wonder why people use windows. The amount of viruses are just enourmous!


People use Windows because when you consider Windows from a functionality perspective vs security perspective its worth using Windows. There are apps on Windows that Apple does not have. Period. And as much as people make excuses about it there IS more software on the PC then the Mac and contrary to popular belief its not crap software. 3rd party software support is the most important feature of any OS. Period. I can rattle off at least a dozen apps that Apple has no peer and we won't get into gaming.
I'm sorry folks but there are 5 simple steps to keeping your computer secure. 1. Use a firewall 2. Use a good antivirus software and make sure its set to auto update every day. 3. Use an alternative browser. 4. Set passwords for the DAMN admin account! I can not count the number of times I've gone over to someone's computer. Friend\relative\system not deployed by me and found NO password for the admin account. Can you say WTF?!?! 5. Set security in your mail app to high and use ****ing common sense when running included exe files. I'm sorry but having the world's most secure OS means exactly jack squat if the ****tard of a user follows the instructions of an e-mail like a blind lemming and runs a Trojan/worm/virus

I now officially admin about 180 systems in my office and to date we have never had a virus infection here *knock on wood* that made it past Norton and even then the times when there were attempts it was due to a stupid moron user unzipping the file and running the exe in the file because the e-mail told them to. Moron. :rolleyes:

Windows is a perfectly fine; fairly secure OS once its setup right. The problem is that it takes some tweaking to get Windows to that point something the average user don't have foggiest idea how to do. This isn't a big deal in an enterprise since we can tweak the image before rolling it out on a desktop and patch maintenance has become drastically simpler since we rolled out our System Update Server. The local desktops run auto updates once a day at 12PM and apply any patches I roll out from there. I can now hit all 180 systems in a matter of minutes. (That's assuming all of our laptop users are in the office.) But for the average home user they neither want to nor should they have to understand the fine details on how to setup a Windows system.

As for security of OSX. Lack of viruses/worms/Trojans doesn't mean that there are no flaws in OS X or unix. Yes I do believe that it is substantially more secure code base then windows but simply Apple has more then a few things going for it:
1. People don't hate Apple with a passion. Win users are more irked at apple and apple user more then anything else. I don't think it's enough to make some wintel user go out and get a mac so they can start looking for security holes. Linux users and generally the entire industry on the other hand hate MS. Does anyone truly like that company?!?! Finding a security hole is considered a badge of honor for some. Stick'n it to DA MAN if you will.
2. Cost of developing a virus. A cheap, 3 year old, PC system can be purchased for dirt. Any two bit hack can get a PC and start playing script kiddy. Going out and purchasing a Mac solely for the purpose of looking for a security hole costs more. One note on this. It looks like you CAN get older iMacs on ebay pretty damn cheap so this probably ends up being a moot point.
3. Market share DOES play a part in this. If you are a virus writer who would you be more interested in going after? 3-4% market share or 95%?
4. Apple doesn't give script kiddies vulnerabilities on a silver platter. The last 3 MAJOR worms/viruses have been based off of security vulnerabilities that were patched by Microsoft anywhere from a few weeks to months in advance. (Note: Blaster came out in late September. The patch for it was released in JULY!) Scrip kiddies don't look for vulnerabilities in Windows. They reverse engineer the various patches MS releases to the masses and exploit the fact that Windows users don't update. If people would auto update their systems when MS releases a patch things like the Blaster worm would become a moot point. Therein lies the problem. MS patches occasionally break things. (And don't tell me Apple patches don't do the same. See 10.2.8 for reference material.) A company needs to do testing before they roll out patches and that takes time. So when MS releases a patch a stopwatch starts. Who is going to get the task completed first? The user base and large companies who have to test this patch before implementation or the script kiddy who is trying to figure out how to exploit this security vulnerability.

*shrugs* all I know is this. I've run Windows 3, 3.11, 95, 95B, 98, 98SE, NT 4, 2000, XP, Server 2003. Currently I own two laptops a desktop, and a home server and in all that time I've never been infected by a virus. I think at this point both Microsoft, and the user are to blame for the problems with Windows. (With the virus/worm writer being overall to blame.) I see it as such. Microsoft: 60% User: 40%. Let me put it another way. If Ford put out a recall for their 2004 Explorer model because it explodes on impact from a 5MPH crash and you ignored the recall who's overall fault is it?

Village
Jun 8, 2004, 10:10 AM
Silicon, I think you hit every point there is to be made on this topic. I particularly agree with this one:

3. Market share DOES play a part in this. If you are a virus writer who would you be more interested in going after? 3-4% market share or 95%?

This is why I'm not worried about terrorism in lil' ol' Nashville, TN. If someone were to wish ill upon a population, their first choice would be NYC or Washington DC. Just equate the Windows user base with NYC and the Apple user base with small town mid-America.

3-22
Jun 8, 2004, 10:30 AM
Happend upon this recently and I think it's a helpful and beautifully written piece:

"Hereís a billion-dollar question: Why are Windows users besieged by security exploits, but Mac users are not?"

"We all benefit from the fact that the Mac community has zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. Not just zero tolerance for security exploits, but zero tolerance for vulnerabilities. In fact, there is zero tolerance in the Mac community for crapware of any kind. [...] Arguing that itís technically possible that the Mac could suffer just as many security exploits as Windows is like arguing that a good neighborhood could suddenly find itself strewn with garbage and plagued by vandalism and serious crime. Possible, yes, but not likely. The security disparity between the Mac and Windows isnít so much about technical possibilities as it is about what people will tolerate."

http://daringfireball.net/2004/06/broken_windows

That sounds more like whimsical wishful thinking to me. Macs have far less viruses becuase they are not targetted. Windows is targetted because people like screwing with Microsoft, and they make up 90%+ of the computers out there. Viruses need a host to spread, and Macs being so few and far between would not spread it fast enough. If Mac's were more prevalent there would be much more viruses on them. As many as Windows? Don't know, probably not, I do think BSD/Darwin is pretty secure. But you get hundreds, thousands, etc. people looking for exploits they will find them in anything.

People who write viruses like to watch them spread and create havoc. Why would you write a virus that would only affect 4-10% of the market? Nah, you would go for the most common least secure system.

Using this argument I could say my TI-99/4A computer is the most secure platform out there. I never got a virus, and never would.

I do like never needing to worry of Viruses on my Mac, and I hope it does stay that way.

applebum
Jun 8, 2004, 02:42 PM
3. Market share DOES play a part in this. If you are a virus writer who would you be more interested in going after? 3-4% market share or 95%?


I hear this a lot, but I think there are some other things to consider. A successfully written OS X virus could cripple an entire OS while that would never happen in Windows - simply because there are so many different setups and different OS versions. More importantly, I would think the notoriety of being able to write a virus on an OS that was supposedly virus proof would be enough to make some people try it. OS X is certainly more of a challenge for virus writers, so anyone that wanted to take "pride" in their work would certainly try to write a virus for OS X.

IJ Reilly
Jun 8, 2004, 02:51 PM
If anybody thinks there aren't enough Apple-haters in world with warped reasons of their own for writing a Mac virus, then they aren't spending much time on chat boards outside of MacRumors.

bousozoku
Jun 8, 2004, 04:09 PM
If anybody thinks there aren't enough Apple-haters in world with warped reasons of their own for writing a Mac virus, then they aren't spending much time on chat boards outside of MacRumors.

It's true, but they don't have Mac OS X machines, so they don't end up creating problems for most of us.

It's also true that Windows users see more problems overall, but Mac users need to keep the arrogance in check or they'll be running to buy anti-virus software, as well as eating their words.

ntg
Jun 8, 2004, 04:09 PM
I hear this a lot, but I think there are some other things to consider. A successfully written OS X virus could cripple an entire OS while that would never happen in Windows - simply because there are so many different setups and different OS versions.

http://www.techworld.com/security/news/index.cfm?NewsID=1689

Guess what - it's a virus/trojan exploit that CAN cripple an entire OS, simply because microsoft forces everyone to install explorer. Now THAT sounds like poetic justice if nothing else...

Nigel.

boomtopper
Jun 8, 2004, 04:31 PM
People use Windows because when you consider Windows from a functionality perspective vs security perspective its worth using Windows. There are apps on Windows that Apple does not have. Period. And as much as people make excuses about it there IS more software on the PC then the Mac and contrary to popular belief its not crap software. 3rd party software support is the most important feature of any OS. Period. I can rattle off at least a dozen apps that Apple has no peer and we won't get into gaming.
I'm sorry folks but there are 5 simple steps to keeping your computer secure. 1. Use a firewall 2. Use a good antivirus software and make sure its set to auto update every day. 3. Use an alternative browser. 4. Set passwords for the DAMN admin account! I can not count the number of times I've gone over to someone's computer. Friend\relative\system not deployed by me and found NO password for the admin account. Can you say WTF?!?! 5. Set security in your mail app to high and use ****ing common sense when running included exe files. I'm sorry but having the world's most secure OS means exactly jack squat if the ****tard of a user follows the instructions of an e-mail like a blind lemming and runs a Trojan/worm/virus

I now officially admin about 180 systems in my office and to date we have never had a virus infection here *knock on wood* that made it past Norton and even then the times when there were attempts it was due to a stupid moron user unzipping the file and running the exe in the file because the e-mail told them to. Moron. :rolleyes:

Windows is a perfectly fine; fairly secure OS once its setup right. The problem is that it takes some tweaking to get Windows to that point something the average user don't have foggiest idea how to do. This isn't a big deal in an enterprise since we can tweak the image before rolling it out on a desktop and patch maintenance has become drastically simpler since we rolled out our System Update Server. The local desktops run auto updates once a day at 12PM and apply any patches I roll out from there. I can now hit all 180 systems in a matter of minutes. (That's assuming all of our laptop users are in the office.) But for the average home user they neither want to nor should they have to understand the fine details on how to setup a Windows system.

As for security of OSX. Lack of viruses/worms/Trojans doesn't mean that there are no flaws in OS X or unix. Yes I do believe that it is substantially more secure code base then windows but simply Apple has more then a few things going for it:
1. People don't hate Apple with a passion. Win users are more irked at apple and apple user more then anything else. I don't think it's enough to make some wintel user go out and get a mac so they can start looking for security holes. Linux users and generally the entire industry on the other hand hate MS. Does anyone truly like that company?!?! Finding a security hole is considered a badge of honor for some. Stick'n it to DA MAN if you will.
2. Cost of developing a virus. A cheap, 3 year old, PC system can be purchased for dirt. Any two bit hack can get a PC and start playing script kiddy. Going out and purchasing a Mac solely for the purpose of looking for a security hole costs more. One note on this. It looks like you CAN get older iMacs on ebay pretty damn cheap so this probably ends up being a moot point.
3. Market share DOES play a part in this. If you are a virus writer who would you be more interested in going after? 3-4% market share or 95%?
4. Apple doesn't give script kiddies vulnerabilities on a silver platter. The last 3 MAJOR worms/viruses have been based off of security vulnerabilities that were patched by Microsoft anywhere from a few weeks to months in advance. (Note: Blaster came out in late September. The patch for it was released in JULY!) Scrip kiddies don't look for vulnerabilities in Windows. They reverse engineer the various patches MS releases to the masses and exploit the fact that Windows users don't update. If people would auto update their systems when MS releases a patch things like the Blaster worm would become a moot point. Therein lies the problem. MS patches occasionally break things. (And don't tell me Apple patches don't do the same. See 10.2.8 for reference material.) A company needs to do testing before they roll out patches and that takes time. So when MS releases a patch a stopwatch starts. Who is going to get the task completed first? The user base and large companies who have to test this patch before implementation or the script kiddy who is trying to figure out how to exploit this security vulnerability.

*shrugs* all I know is this. I've run Windows 3, 3.11, 95, 95B, 98, 98SE, NT 4, 2000, XP, Server 2003. Currently I own two laptops a desktop, and a home server and in all that time I've never been infected by a virus. I think at this point both Microsoft, and the user are to blame for the problems with Windows. (With the virus/worm writer being overall to blame.) I see it as such. Microsoft: 60% User: 40%. Let me put it another way. If Ford put out a recall for their 2004 Explorer model because it explodes on impact from a 5MPH crash and you ignored the recall who's overall fault is it?

I was not trying to say that whatever platform is better than others because as we all know some operating systems have major benefits in one area than the another. But i have been a windows user and i have found that problems are way to common in my line of work. For example on windows xp midi latency is really bad unless you buy a really expensive sound card. But when i use a old G3 powermac midi latency is great and it does not even have a new sound card in it still has the same default one.
One of the things that i do miss about the windows world is 3rd party software. As you said a platform can only survive by its 3rd party software and the trouble with the Mac platform is there is not a great variety of 3rd party software when compared to say windows or Linux.
But as you said about the firewall and the antivirus software, sometimes this is just not enough because of the amount of viruses that are being created. I know friends that complain to me all the time about viruses and they have the latest patch and anti virus and to still no avail until say a month later.
I do believe there will a Mac virus soon but i do feel that it will be minor and apple will fix it. But people are not creating these viruses because we haven't got a lot of market-share so virus creators feel there is not a large enough audience to attack because they like the chaos their software creates.
One of the reasons i feel that macs are so expensive when compared to to a PC is becuase of its life span. At college we do all sorts of audio work on old G3 powermacs and they run beautifully. These powermacs even run os x.3. But i do feel people want a computer like mac donalds cheap and c**p so thats part of the reason why they buy one. Another reason for people not buying macs i feel is becuase they are not known about that well. Before i discovered macs i knew absolutely nothing about them i didn't even know if they still existed but when i used one i fell in love straight away.

boomtopper
Jun 8, 2004, 04:32 PM
I titally agree with this article. Macs are extremely secure. But i was a little bit worried about that safari security hole but apple has now patched it up. I thought apple might take longer with it!
But sometimes i do wonder why people use windows. The amount of viruses are just enourmous!
I meant totally agree if you all hadn't guessed.

7on
Jun 8, 2004, 05:27 PM
Virus creators like attention their viruses create, not the chaos. I still get giddy whenever I hear my town in the news. I'm assuming it's the same when a virus writer hears his creation mentioned on CNN. The first virus for OSX would most likely have this much media attention, if the recent attention to the URL handler exploit and fake trojans are anything to go by.

And what most people tend to leave out when discussing OSX marketshare being the reason it has no viruses is the the Classic MacOS has viruses. A whooping 26 viruses exist for MacOS9 and earlier. 0 exist for MacOSX. And, as I believe, Apple had a LOWER marketshare in their pre-OSX adoption than today. So therefore does that make a lower marketshare more susceptible to viruses? By looking at the relationship of MacOS and OSX one would think so.

superbovine
Jun 8, 2004, 05:36 PM
teh article never mention the fact the windows has a longer test cycle than mac os x ever will becuase of apple's control of vendors etc. the author also never mention the fact that Darwin is open source, yielding an another advantaged.

I dont like the fact that the author tries to conclude that "mac users don't tolerate ****". The fact is when exploits are found, apple test cycle for deployment of a patch is a lot quicker because they have a lot of control of third-party access to their machines. this yields quicker output pacthes.

The author argument of trying to compare if x86/windows and apple market where the same would it translate into equal output of exploits and versus. that is an unfair compression. the fair comparison in this case would be if apple's market share was 97% and microsoft was 3%. Consider OS X runs on a BSD kernel that is open source, i imagine a lot more patches would have to released. there are plenty of patches for various linux/bsd distro. however, still think OS X in the long run would have less totally problems than windows would considering its core runs on bsd.