Can you get viruses on Parallels?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by markw10, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. markw10 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    #1
    I know I have heard that with Boot camp you can of course get Windows Viruses but with Parallels since it's virtualization you can't. This sounds too good to be true but is it true you can't get Windows viruses on Parallels? What about spyware, etc?
     
  2. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    Aug 9, 2002
    #2
    Parallels is every bit as vulnerable to viruses as Boot Camp.
     
  3. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    Jun 25, 2002
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    LaLaLand, CA
    #3
    Parallels may be kind of neutered because of it's drivers and lack of directx support, but it's every bit as susceptible as Boot Camp. You're running Windows. Windows is Windows.

    Download a free virus scanner if you're worried.
     
  4. speakerwizard macrumors 68000

    speakerwizard

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    London
    #4
    but dont worry about the viruses effecting osx, not gonna happen
     
  5. markw10 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 4, 2006
    #5
    I figured that was too good to be true. Let's say I do get a virus though on the Windows side and it wipes out a lot of files, etc. Whatever damage the virus does is that limited to my Windows side meaning it would potentially wipe out my files, data, etc. on the Windows side but not affect anything on the Mac OS side or can it basically affect the whole computer? I think the key either way is anything you can run on the Mac OS X side do it, don't use Windows software unless you have to. My MBP just arrived an hour ago so I'm going to be working on that now.
     
  6. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    Unless very specially crafted any virus effecting your Windows disk image is limited to the Windows disk image. Why? Because Windows cannot see/read/write to HFS+ (the formatting your OS X install is using). So, as I said, unless specially crafted (to see/read/write) to deal with HFS+, your Mac OS X install is completely safe.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    Windows is Windows. It works like Windows no mater how you run it. On a PC, on a Mac or inside a virual machine. Parallels does give you one more tool: After you install Windows but before you connect it to the Internet you can take a "snapshot" copy of the virtual machine and store it away someplace. After all it is just a file. You can back it up. Then when your Windows gets trashed you can restore the VM back to it's state when you did the snapshot. If you have enough space you can keep the snapshot as a ZIP file and not even have to dig out the DVDs to do the restore.
     
  8. OldSkoolNJ macrumors 6502

    OldSkoolNJ

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    Jul 10, 2006
    #8
    Well all of this is mostly true .. it is not 100%. In almost all cases, no you will not get a virus that will effect OSX. However ona slim case, like one of my customers, you can get a virus that deletes partitions or effects partitions. We arent 100% sure this is what happened but many apple techs and other computer fanatics agree this is most likely what happened. Customer installed Windows and also installed a program that would allow him to see the Mac partition ( cant remember the name). After some internet surfing and other internet related activities he had noticed a difference in performance. he ran a virus checker and found some viruses. Most of which spyware and some other assorteds. He went to boot into OSX and bascially the partition didnt seem to be there. He brought it to the store and we were completely lost on it. Turns out one of the viruses he had Norton find was a virus known for deleting partitions. Now I am not the most technical person myself and I am going on the words of all the techs I work with who have a few decades under the belts. They had decided it was very plausible for it to happen and is the only explanation they could come up with.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    In boot camp, in theory software running under Windows could write al over your Mac OSX partition. Windows pretty much has ful run of the machine and can acess the disk, bypassing the file system But in real life viruses don't write outside of the Windows file system.

    In Parallels Windows still has the full run of the machine, but this time it is inside a vertual machine so it only has access to that. The vertual disk could be trashed but the damage is contaied to the vertual environment.

    But like I said, in real life PC viruses tend to write only to the Windows disks. This could change some day. In fact if someone really wanted to make a Mac Virus using Windows/boot camp would be a good way to go.
     
  10. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #10
    Did you try looking on their website?

    From http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/faq/4/#4-6:

    Q: I’ve heard that there are many viruses that affect Windows. Will these viruses hurt my Mac if I install Windows to the Virtual Machine?

    A: Parallels Desktop for Mac runs guest OS in special virtualized environment that emulates separate computer. This virtualized computer is as vulnerable to the viruses as a usual PC running Windows. We highly recommended to have some anti-virus software and firewall running in the guest OS.
    Please mind that although computer viruses and similar malicious software can't affect MacOS X itself, Shared Folders content which is accessible from Windows side can be corrupted so you shouldn't store any important data there (or backup it at least).
     
  11. faustfire macrumors 6502a

    faustfire

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    California
    #11
    It seems to me that the best thing to do would be to only access the internet while booted into os x. I know sometimes, like for updates and such, you have to go online while in windows but if you keep it to a bare minimum it seems like you would greatly limit the risk of contracting viruses.
     
  12. OldSkoolNJ macrumors 6502

    OldSkoolNJ

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    #12
    Seems to me the best thing to do would be not to install Windows!







    Just a harmless joke .. no flaming need apply.

    Kevin
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #13
    Another simple way to stay clean. Burn your VM to a DVD and copy it back in place every day/week/month.

    B
     
  14. Rob Dixon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    #14
    If you don't need access to the internet from the virtual machine, you can change the network set up of the VM to "host only" networking. Setting this allows the VM to only talk to the local host, and not to anything else. Voila! No chance of a virus, Windows is sandboxed.
     
  15. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

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    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #15
    Assuming that you never download anything w/ OS X to install on the Windows VM. :)
     

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