Is it all in my mind?: Spy/Adware for the MAC

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Jennifer, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. Jennifer macrumors member

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    Feb 20, 2004
    #1
    Can someone from our Apple community please offer some clarification on the issue of spy/adware for the MAC. (1) Does it exist? (2) If so, what is a recommended free anti-spy/adware application?

    Thank you.
     
  2. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #2
    As far as I know, there is no adware for the Mac (it's not MAC :) ) but there are one or two keyboard loggers for paid corporate use.
     
  3. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #3
    I have never heard of any spyware or adware for Macs (note, not MACS ;)). I have no protection (other than the built-in firewall and my router) as I have never deemed it necessary. If anyone has heard of or run across anything different please let me know - otherwise, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Same goes with viruses. Macs are wonderful machines... :cool:
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    Also to chime in, a big part of why spyware and adware propogate on windows is because Internet Explorer either lets websites install without permission, or keeps bombarding you with so many plug-in requests that the average user can't tell legitimate from illigitimate. Even PC users are relatively safe if they use Firefox, as are Mac users who do so, and Safari I think too....
     
  5. jadam macrumors 6502a

    jadam

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    #5
    Beware of iTunes companion for konfabulator, it is spyware. It constantly launches quicktime and makes it pop up some ads. Im pretty sure it was iTunes companion that was causing the ad problems because as soon as I turned it off, no more ads.
     
  6. varmit macrumors 68000

    varmit

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    #6
    Nope, Macs don't have the problem with Spy/Adware like PCs do yet. IE and MSN messanger and other such programs, that have flaws in the code and logic of how the program works, that access the internet on Windows is how most Spy/Adware get onto the computers. Macs and Linux computers don't have these holes, so no Spy/Adware.
     
  7. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #7
    First, some defenitions...

    We must define what we're talking about here.

    Spyware: Software that records various things you do on your computer, and reports them to someone else.

    Adware: Software that causes ads to appear on your computer, or changes the way your computer works to force you to see ads or website you did not request.

    Spyware is a very general term, that can include legitimate tools used by companies (keyloggers, for example.) The 'legitimate' kind exist for OS X. The less-than-legitimate kind (ones that are put on your computer by advertising companies to track your browsing habits,) are non-existent on OS X.

    Adware is more specific. It, by definition, is software from advertising companies. None of this exists (to my knowledge) for OS X. I'll have to research the iTunes plugin for Konfabulator, but this is the first I have heard of it being called adware.

    In the Windows world, both of these illegitimate kinds are sometimes referred to generically as 'malware'. It's a big problem on Windows. I figure it's only a matter of time before we see CoolWebSearch, Alexa, or Gator on the Mac.
     
  8. Jennifer thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 20, 2004
    #8
    If all thatwe've said is true . . .

    Why, then, does anti-spyware exist for the Mac? And what is it protecting from? For example, "Web Tunnel"?
     
  9. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #9
    Web Tunnel might not have any spyware blockers for the Mac because there really isn't anything worth blocking right now. Web Tunnel will be rendered obsolete in Safari when Tiger comes out with Safari 2.0...so why even bother buying it?
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #10
    I think webtunnel, if they're talking about protecting you from spying, more means server-side spying, getting and retaining information about your IP address, what kind of computer you have, etc, which it blocks using proxy service and presumably by camoflauging your agent identity....

    Does anyone use this software btw? Looks interesting, but I guess I don't have anything to hide sufficient to bother.
     
  11. mms macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Well whatever you do, don't use Norton. It doesn't protect against any dangers and has been said to be worse for your computer than anything. It's reputable for Windows, but not Mac. The only thing you need to do is to use common sense. If anybody's read Kevin Mitnick's The Art of Deception, the greatest danger is human nature. It can't be patched by software, either. Just don't go download anything untrustworthy, check everything you download (remember the fake MS Office 2004 installer on P2P that erased your home folder?) and secure physical access to your computer.
     
  12. Jennifer thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 20, 2004
    #12
    If it were free, I would be willing to try it. I just can't find anything for Mac that fits the requirement.

    Can you?
     
  13. jackieonasses macrumors 6502a

    jackieonasses

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    #13
    What requirement? I am confused. When you plug in your Macintosh, You won't have to worry about lockups (most of the time) And since the absence of viruses (virri?) and spyware, you have trouble-free clicking.
     
  14. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #14
    Don't worry about buying Web Tunnel, I believe its functionality will be built-into Safari 2 when Tiger ships. As for why it exists, dunno, I've often asked msyelf the same question regarding virus protection software for the Mac. ;)
     
  15. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #15
    Did you even notice/read my post that mentions much the same thing?
     
  16. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #16
    LOL - well, that's what I get for getting e-mail notification of the new post, reading the post in my e-mail, typing up a response, and just posting it without reading the rest of the thread. ;)

    At least we know we're both not out to lunch on the topic... :cool:
     
  17. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #17
    For reference, it is viruses, as the work is of Greek origin and not Latin. (So you were right the first time around)...

    Also, so far the worst thing out there I have seen for the Mac is an exploit where your Home directory is deleted when you execute it, as was demonstrated with the Office 2004 installer... the key here is to 1) not run things you aren't 100% sure about, and 2) if you DO have to or want to try something you aren't 100% sure about at least make a seperate 'dummy' login as a test bed for new applications to be sure that they aren't some sort of trojan. Once you have tested it out and are sure it does what it's meant to and no more, delete it from the test user accoutn and install it on your main account(s).

    Rob
     
  18. sjpetry macrumors 65816

    sjpetry

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    #18
    I remember reading about a very weak type of spyware that effects Macs. I use Virex 7.5 and it caught a virus yesterday.
     
  19. mms macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    That's not anything that can be solved, though. It was just a simple AppleScript that executed the shell command
    Code:
    rm -rf ~/*  //don't actually try this!!
    written by some script kiddie. It would easily be prevented with common sense, and of course, trying to download an illegal installer of Office 04 didn't help. Anybody should have been able to guess that the Office 04 installer wouldn't be 100kb or so. That's my point in saying that common sense is your best defense. Of course, this is as harmful as these exploits can get because of Unix's permissions system; the Macintosh operating system is thus significantly more secure than in previous versions (9 and below). A process can only do as much as the user can do (i.e. act only in the home directory) unless you give it permission to do so. The most important thing is to be wary of anything that asks for administrator passwords to install. That's why many people, though they are the administrators, use a separate, "regular" account.
     

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