Macs are more secure, not just because Windows has more marketshare...

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Snowy_River, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. Snowy_River macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

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    Corvallis, OR
    #1
    With all of the clattering about of viruses for Windows recently, I've been very greatful for the fact that I'm on a Mac, and therefore immune to such things. Yes, I know that it would be theoretically possible for a Mac OS X virus to crop up at some point, but I've rarely, if ever, heard of a true Mac virus in all of my years of Macintosh computing.

    Indeed, I've often discussed the fact that Macs offer a higher level of security against such things. However, many PC users have countered by saying that this was simply because Macs had such a low marketshare, and they weren't inherently safer than Windows machines.

    Well, I now have an answer to that. Yes they are. Here are two articles that talk about precisely that, and just how vulnerable Windows really is, in comparison.

    From the Washington Post.

    From MacNN.
     
  2. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #2
    I feel good knowing that the OS I use is programmed by competent people who know how to write good software.
     
  3. xpormac macrumors regular

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    Aug 21, 2003
    #3
    ah come on man, if the people that wrote windows were incompetent, do you think it would have as much support as it does now? Lets see you write an OS that can support millions of hardware items. I'm sure it will be so much better than these incompetent people's work :rolleyes:
     
  4. FredAkbar macrumors 6502a

    FredAkbar

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    #4
    Sorry but this is a peeve of mine...

    Did PowerbookG5 say that he could write better software than MS? No, he didn't, did he? But he doesn't get paid billions of dollars a year to write software does he? No, he doesn't. MS does.

    When someone criticizes something else, it doesn't mean they're saying that they could do a better job--they're just saying that (in this case) MS doesn't make software of good-enough quality to deserve to make billions a year.

    [/rant] :)
     
  5. xpormac macrumors regular

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    #5
    Millions of happy customers don't qualify to make millions/billions a year?
     
  6. FredAkbar macrumors 6502a

    FredAkbar

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    #6
    Windows popularity --> more software for it and more people using it because it's "the standard OS" --> more Windows popularity --> and so on...

    All I'm saying is that there are other factors for people choosing Windows than just looking at each OS and deciding that it's a "better" OS.

    I'll admit, you can call it kind of an exaggeration to say that MS is "incompetent"...obviously they do know how to make an OS that usually works. But even so, PowerbookG5 didn't say he could do better or anything. That was the only thing I had a problem with there.
     
  7. chewbaccapits macrumors 6502a

    chewbaccapits

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    #7
    great to know...I am a little proud that my mac dollars are spread for great security...
     
  8. RandomDeadHead macrumors 6502

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    #8
    These people think they are happy because that's what microsoft tells them to think.

    They don't know the difference.
     
  9. xpormac macrumors regular

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    Aug 21, 2003
    #9

    oh give me a ****ing break. This isn't 1984 and microsoft isn't the government. If people don't like something, they won't buy it again.

    [mod. edit - Don't circumvent the profanity filter.]
     
  10. Stike macrumors 65816

    Stike

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    #10
    Well, that is the case if they KNOW that they have a CHOICE. But if you go to a local comp store, all you will see are PCs with Win preinstalled... so our frustrated user leaves a *sigh* and tries to cope with M$ crap...
     
  11. billyboy macrumors 65816

    billyboy

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    #11
    Getting down to brass tacks, this thread sheds some light on the practicalities of why nasty hackers arent screwing with Mac OSX. Basically they just arent clever enough. :eek:

    http://forums.maccentral.com/wwwthr...ews030821virusphp&Number=521093&view=expanded

    It is in MS interest to spread the myth that Windows is vulnerable because everyone´s out to get them. That is far better PR than saying that the combined cleverness of their developers still hasnt got over basic design flaws and they have no choice but to be forever patching an insecure OS.
     
  12. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #12
    Dude, you need to take a dang chill pill. I did not say anything besides that I like the fact that the people who made OS X did a good job and I enjoy the feeling I get from using a really well made OS.

    On another note, if you think everyone using a PC is happy with Windows or Microsoft, you seriously need to get a psych evaluatation.
     
  13. Snowy_River thread starter macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

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    #13
    Happy? Should I give you a littany of Windows users I know whe aren't happy?

    The problem with this argument goes beyond the perception of choice, to the very existence of choice. Most of the people I know in industry have to use Windows (myself included) because the software that they use to do their work is only available for Windows. Linux isn't an option. Mac OS X isn't an option. So, they have to continue to use an OS that they don't like.

    It's very easy for people who are only using their computers for things like word processing, email and web browsing to think that everyone has a choice in what computer platform they use. Unfortunately, that really isn't the case.
     
  14. iPC macrumors 6502

    iPC

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    East Windsor, CT
    #14
    Judging by the monthly security updates for OS X, Macs are not anywhere near invulnerable.

    If your computer is on a network, you are vulnerable. The OS does not matter. All this stuff is written by people after all...
     
  15. vniow macrumors G4

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    #15
    My lack of a better idea doesn't necessarily make your idea good.

    -Gelfin
     
  16. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

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    MD
    #16
    A great many of those customers have their choices made for them by their IT department. Many also become, and remain, Microsoft customers because they don't have any realistic idea of an alternative. They may have heard of Linux or the Mac, but those are those freaky things that those other wierdos run. Computers mean Windows PCs, and Internet Explorer is the Web.

    Just this week my sister sent me a humor forward with the title, "I don't hate my computer, I just want to hurt it sometimes." The forward then proceeds to list all the commonly known, oft-repeated woes of computing--and I was startled to realize that about half of those were Windows-specific.

    Millions of happy customers WOULD qualify income of millions or billions a year. But I'll have to disagree with you that the largest portion of Windows users are "happy" customers--except in the sense that as long as they can get away from a computing session where nothing goes wrong, they're happy to be done with the computer for the day. I know--I supported a bunch of ordinary everyday Windows users back when I did help desk.
     
  17. macktheknife macrumors 6502a

    macktheknife

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    #17
    Every program and OS has a vulnerability--be it Windows or OS X. I think calling the programmers at Microsoft "incompetant" just because others have found a way to exploit flaws in Windows is way off the mark. Virus attacks hit Windows simply because the virus authors are spending more time trying to exploit vulnerabilities in the OS most people use.

    Apple has released many security patches too. For instance, about a year ago, Apple discovered that someone could exploit a vulnerability in OS X that would direct the Update Software feature to another site instead of Apple's. In other words, a user could have been downloading software that could potentially harm the computer. Apple released a patch to fix this issue, but prior to the patch's release, anyone could have taken advantage of this flaw. To the best of my knowledge, no one did.

    Remember also that there is nothing Microsoft can do to stop people from double-clicking those .exe and .pif attachments they receive from the net. Remember also the SQL slammer worm that brought internet traffic to its knees a few months ago: Microsoft had released a patch months prior to the attack but many people simply did not install it.

    I think ridiculing Microsoft for Windows' vulnerabilities to attacks is a poor way to make Mac users feel better about OS X when every program has vulnerabilities.
     
  18. Snowy_River thread starter macrumors 68030

    Snowy_River

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    #18
    Of course. No one has suggested that OS X is invulnerable.

    Well, yes and no. Did you read the articles that I posted at the beginning of this thread? It seems that even if Mac OS X was a primary target, it would be a much harder target to hit than Windows, according to various security analyses.

    I think the ridicule is deserved for the fact that Windows has been shown to have been designed with a poor eye toward security. The design choices made by MS are what I choose to ridicule, for leaving their OS so vulnerable to attack. The question isn't whether or not a system is vulnerable, the question is how vulnerable it is, and how hard the authors of the system have worked to eliminate the vulnerabilities...
     
  19. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    #19
    The thing is, no one called Microsoft incompetent on this thread besides xpormac. He took what I said and blew it way out of focus. He has to realize that just because I said I am glad and secure in knowing that OS X is written by copetent software developers, it's simply that, and I like using my Mac because I know they work hard to make it the best platform they can. If he is going to get bent out of shape because people here prefer Macs, then he obviously doesn't understand the fact that this website is designed and subcribed to by Mac users and Mac enthusiasts. I did not say a single thing about Microsoft and he completely went off on his own tangent.
     
  20. bobindashadows macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Seriously people... I'm willing to bet that 75% of the UNIX binaries that come installed on Mac OS X are vulnerable to attack. Sure, Apple didn't write them, but it doesn't mean they aren't vulnerable. If you take a nice jaunt to securityfocus, you can find all kinds of major advisories about OpenSSH, sendmail, probably the apache version shipping with os x, and many more. The thing is, Apple doesn't ship the computer with these open.

    To the person who said that "if you have your computer on a network you are vulnerable" - you are actually wrong about this - if you don't have ports open, how will you be attacked by a worm, or a bored hacker?

    Oh, sure, if you open shifty .app's or just applications, then you are asking for trouble, but we're talking about the vulnerability of the OS, not the user.
     
  21. xpormac macrumors regular

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    Aug 21, 2003
    #21
    apologize, sorry.
     
  22. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    The West Loop
    #22
    -xpormac

    Your initial reaction is a bit justified, but have you read Windows EULA word for word?

    What's worse is Passport's EULA.

    Those are scarier than George Orwell's 1984 itself.

    There are many many hidden files within DOS and Windows that collect emails and web URLS and clicks. Most of these files you can only get to if you know the specific path because they've been purposely set to +s[ystem].

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/TypedURLs/ is one such file, that store every URL you visit.

    As of knowing this, every PC I own and will own will only contain the bare minimum of my personal information. Essentially, I will only use personal PC's for those apps and tool I can't use on my Macs. And that leaves pretty much only games.

    People mostly buy something due to habit, and ignorance of options. This is classic buying behavior and we all do it to some degree.
     
  23. skychum macrumors newbie

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    Aug 28, 2003
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    Sacramento, CA
    #23
    Didn't Apple move production of OSX overseas to Taiwan? Yeah, they did. So, since it is coded by asians, you can be assured OSX is far superior.
     
  24. besson3c macrumors member

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    Apr 9, 2003
    #24
    Windows design flaws:

    - Lack of user level permissions. Anybody who is set as a Power User (or whatever) has free reign to modify their Windows installation. Programs run as a Power User can get in the registry and do as they please, without any feedback or obvious clue that they are being malicious. In contrast, admins in OS X are not able to touch the OS X system files without authenticating. Sure, this may not be enough of a deterrent in some cases, but it still gives the end user a greater degree of control over their systems. This may be why we also part of the reason why we don't have any Spyware. It is extremely difficult to be granted root access without authenticating.

    - "Integration". When you can get a virus simply by visiting a webpage (via Direct X stuff), something isn't right. Have you ever sent a Windows user to that webpage that makes their CD-Rom tray eject?

    - It seems unclear right now whether a program run on OS X can access the Address Book and progogate worms by mass mailing address book contacts. So many worms on Windows are exploiting this same basic flaw.

    - Windows XP ships with 5 open ports, OS X: none.

    - It is sometimes difficult to uninstall Windows apps. That is why programs like AdAware exist.

    - IIS

    - file name extensions are hidden unconditionally, making it possible to send files titled myfile.zip.pif and trick people into thinking that the file is actually a .zip file.

    - Windows is too "pushy" about installing Passport, doing this, doing that. People perhaps habitually ignore critical update alerts like they do that paper clip guy in Office.
     
  25. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #25
    -skychum

    This caused me to utter a full-on "Huh?"

    Please don't run into a room, throw a steak in, and run. Can you add some info? What aspects of production? Simple Disk pressing? When? etc.
     

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