no mac viruses?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by nature girl, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. nature girl macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2004
    i'm new to mac's. so just to clear this up, there are no mac viruses? why is that? :p
  2. dotnina macrumors 6502a

    Aug 19, 2004
    Since so much of the world uses Windows, it's not generally worth a virus writer's time to write something to affect a Mac.

    I believe there was a proof-of-concept virus a few months ago that an anti-virus company created? Anyway, if I remember correctly, it was really silly, and anyway Apple quickly sent out a patch.

    You might still receive viruses in your e-mail, and if you send them out you could affect your friends who run Windows. But you? You are immune.

    Welcome to Macintosh. :)
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    No, none for OS X. There is one concept virus, it's not a real virus by any standard and was never "released", but it's exploit has of course been patched. Some people (Apple, for instance) say OS X is impervious to viruses because it's so ultra-secure... while some claim it's because so few people use Macs, virus writers have no initiative to write any. I think it's a mix of the two... certainly OS X is more secure than Windows, but it has had occasional vulnerabilities that *could* have been attacked, but weren't... they were generally patched by Apple in short order. Meanwhile Windows vulnerabilities have lain open and exposed for months or more before being patched. We're starting to see evidence that the government is interested in OS X for it's security, and the army moved it's servers to Macs a few years ago for security purposes.

  4. nature girl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2004
    this is awesome! i LOVE this!! :D

    so i guess i don't have to worry about spyware or anything of that sort?

    before i sold my pc laptop, i spent hours cleaning the virus and spyware on it... i'm glad i got a mac!! :)
  5. stoid macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    Correct. So far all adware/spyware has not been 'ported' to Mac OS X.
  6. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    No spyware or adware. BUT, to dispute just a little what's been said, the worst thing that can happen is getting a macro virus (like the old Melissa) that is more a bother than a real dangerous virus. And you can spread serious ones to your friend's PC's.
  7. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    While I would like to believe this, there is a specific version of windows that numbers in the thousands (i think 12,000) and not the few million like OSX. This version of windows had a virus written for it, your argument fails on this count. Now if I had the article you might believe me as well. Btw this windows wasn't your consumer type OS, it was a specific version which performed specific tasks. If only I could get the link for you.

    Anyway, the virus writer wrote a virus which affected that version of windows only, caused a lot of damage and yet its numbers pale in comparision compared to OSX.

    Point is, there must be a more tangible reason for OSX not having a native virus written for it. Maybe hackers have tried and so far havn't found an exploit or maybe all hackers use OSX! :) Maybe they have more respect for it because windows is teh 3vil monopoly OS or something! :confused:
  8. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    I agree with most of what has been said, but still, do not let your guard down or something will happen. SSH exploits come out and if you have Remote Login enabled (default on OS X Server), they can gain control of the system.

    Of course, there are always "If <this>, then <that>" scenarios, but your best bet is to keep your system as secure as possible always.
  9. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    And OS9 has a lot more viruses than OSX (26?) yet I believe OSX is way more popular than OS9 was. Also Linux has a few viruses and worms. One would think that by now We'd have at least one virus if it was just a numbers issue. We have what? 10 million OSX users?
  10. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    There are in fact quite a few viruses (most likely) written for os x, have the been released to the wild. Nope. But let me just tell you there are tons of security holes in unix based oses (apple had to accept this when they switched from the classic os architecture) and it is quite easy to write viruses for os x. Just ignore what all the diehard steve jobs stalkers say, "there are no mac viruses" because this is not true. Just because you do not see a virus listed on symantecs page or on the news does not mean there are none.

    People who deny it, will get them first ;)

    But yes it is true about noone wants to waste their time writing them for 3% of the marketshare. But I am just saying, there are some. And that is why I get mad at people who want mac os to get a large marketshare, basic theory:
    more people = more holes found = more viruses/trojans..etc written.
  11. Apple Hobo macrumors 6502a

    Apple Hobo

    Mar 19, 2004
    A series of tubes
    It's also been said that it's harder (not impossible) to write a decent virus for OS X. Hopefully that will keep most of those wannabe 733t script kiddies on the Winblows side. :rolleyes:
  12. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    OK, apparently there are viruses for Mac, because Nusuni says so :rolleyes:

    Give us a name, details, ANY information about an OS X virus. Can't? Then it doesn't exist. Unless you can turn up even ONE report of OS X being hit by a virus, you've no proof any exist.

  13. sorryiwasdreami macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2004
    way out in the sticks
    The way I understand it, many hackers use a linux OS, which in history, was a minimal version of the first Unix systems. The underlying system for Mac OSX is -

    "Darwin, an open source UNIX-based foundation built on technologies such as FreeBSD, Mach, Apache, and GCC. Darwin provides a complete UNIX environment, with X11 and POSIX services comparable to Linux or FreeBSD, including familiar kernel, libraries, networking and command-line utilities."

    I believe hackers stand by some or all of the above programming languages. Microsoft's XP security claims, when it was first released, said the OS was unbreakable, and this has propelled hackers to penetrate it.

    These two reasons make it more sensible for virus-makers to undermine windows and not Mac OS.
  14. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    but do you have any proof that none exist, nope.

    same thing as that innocent until proven guilty, just because you have not been proven guilty does not mean your innocent ;)

    just because i cannot prove (i actually can but dont feel like wasting time) that any exist does not mean that none exist
  15. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Remember also that the smaller installed base of OS X has two effects:

    1) Not worth time to write, because you affect so few people
    2) A lot harder to get it to spread, because the population of users who pass along the virus is a lot smaller.

    Many of the windows viruses use exchange to forward the virus around. But if you wrote one for Mail or Entourage, so few computers would actually send it on, that the virus might not ever go anywhere.
  16. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    someone could always put one on limewire and claim its vpc 7 :p i know a ton of people would download that
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    This may be a difficult concept for you to grasp, but "it is impossible to prove a negative." That is why the burden of proof is on the person who brings the charge and not the person who refutes it. In criminal cases, there are only two possible verdicts--"guilty" and "not guilty." "Everybody knows he did it" is not a verdict. "He's guilty but we can't prove it" is not a verdict. "Innocent" is not a verdict. The court renders the same verdict to the wise guy who bumps off all of the witnesses against him as it does to the nun accused of killing Cock Robin. That verdict is "not guily."

    If you claim that there are viruses on MacOS X, the burden is on you to present evidence to support your claim. If you fail to do so, then you claim is so much idle noise and is not worthy of our time.
  18. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL

    See thinking like that is what scares me. Mac users have been lulled into a false sense of protection because of the lack of malware on OS X. Just because it doesn't exist doesn't mean it can't happen.
    Not to get morose or anything but it would be like saying 3 weeks before 9|11 that because we haven't been attacked lately we are secure.
    The fact of the matter is a virus's primary means of propagation is through user intervention. Someone clicks on a bad link. Someone opens up an infected file from an e-mail who's title is: Open me now! Someone downloads pirated software off the net and it screws up their computer. Oops that already happened on OS X didn't it? ;) But in that case it was a trojan not a virus. If a user doesn’t remain vigilant when dealing with his/her security they are opening themselves up to a potential attack someday.

    A virus is simply a program that runs like any other program. Until an OS becomes smart enough to say "HEY! That's a virus! It's trying to do bad things to me! *lays the slapdown* then viruses on the Mac will be a possibility and AFAIK this isn't the case yet.
    I'm not so much worried about viruses on the Mac. Viruses can be nasty to be sure.
    No its worms where you get into a hell like situation. Worms act similar to a virus but can propagate by themselves without any user intervention and can infect another system on the fly. We all remember the MS blaster worm right? No user intervention was needed there. Simply connect your computer on the net, and sit back and wait for infection. Currently on an unpatched Windows 2K/XP system that is directly connected to the net either via broadband or standard dial-up it takes less the 20 minutes for a system to be infected. What's really funny is that the average time to download the current latest and greatest patches is over 20 minutes. :eek: So there is no way, other then to put in place a firewall, to secure your system before you are infected. Gotta love it. :rolleyes: Sorry got off on a Windows rant for a second.
    My point being is that to date, AFAIK there have been no holes setup in a fashion that would allow a worm to propagate. (There was an issue with Safari but that required the user to actually go to a site.) As long as OS X doesn't start leaking holes of the likes that allowed MS Blaster to occur OS X users should be fin,e but users, be they windows or Mac, should ALWAYS remain vigilant. Watch your e-mail and delete suspicious crap, setup a firewall, make sure your browser is secure, (Which basically means you are fine as long as you aren't using Internet Imploder.) and stay on the latest patches.

    Honestly a good portion of the reason OS X doesn't have any viruses probably is because of their market share numbers. Honestly why would a virus writer go out and spend money on a Mac when in all likelihood they already have the hardware under their desk to test X86 viruses. Apple's market share, closed hardware platform, BSD base, and brand loyalty all play a part in their inherent protection but again that fire blanket they have can rip if someone tried hard enough.
  19. kant macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2004
    You can't prove a negative.
  20. SiliconAddict macrumors 603


    Jun 19, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    We aren't in a court of law bud. There isn't black and white. On a forum it's just as easily gray as any other color.

    That makes no sense. The burden isn't on him because he doesn't have to prove a thing. Claiming ANYTHING one way or another requires facts. So there aren't viruses out there. Prove it. OK then there are viruses out there. Prove it. Any claim requires something to back it up and since neither side has any facts to back them up the whole conversation falls into the real, of speculation.
    Stating that its fact because there is no physical proof doesn't prove a thing. That would be like me saying the world is flat because no one has ever returned from a trip across the ocean. (We'll circa 1400's of course. :p )
    I don't know if your thinking falls into an Occam's Razor variant but I'm getting that vibe off of it. I hate Occam's Razor. World's stupidest principle at least it is for those who apply it to real world situations.
  21. C-Mezak macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2004
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    This is a dumb argument.

    It's plainly obvious that very very few OSX users if any ae having trouble with viruses. The vast majority of OSX users have no anti-virus software running, and yet we never hear about virus trouble here int he macrumors forums.

    That said, it's been proven that viruses are possible on OSX. And Apple does include virus software with .mac accounts, so they obviously are aware of the potential of an OSX virus (although it's probably peace of mind they're tying to provide).

    That's the state of things. What does this mean for us mac users? I means that - for the forseeable future at least - there's nect to worry about viruses showing up on our systems. OSX is not immune but it is by no means irresponsibly insecure as windows appears to have been. Grab some virus softwae if you want that extra peace of mind, but chances are the virus companies will be as surprised as you when something shows up on the net that you have to worry about.

  22. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    How could anyone ever prove that no viruses exist for an OS? That would be like trying to prove that a Power Mac G7 doesn't exist. The only possible proof is in the lack of evidence that such things do exist.
  23. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    as they've done a good job in pointing out, you cannot prove a negative, whether in a court of law or on a messageboard. Here, I'll give some examples.

    1. Flying elephants exist. Prove to me they do not. Can't? Well, then, they do.

    2. Santa Claus is real. Prove otherwise.

    3. Viruses exist for OS X. Prove otherwise.

    See where I'm going with this?

    If you want us to believe that this "flying elephant" exists, you're going to have to give SOMETHING. If it's too much a waste of your time, then don't waste our time by interjecting baseless claims that you're unwilling to back up.

  24. jackieonasses macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    the great OKLAHOMA....
    hey guys lets completely stop talking about virii so those pesky hackers will forget about our 10% marketshare!
  25. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    currently there may not be any virus for the mac. But does that mean there well ever be Hell no.

    It not a question of if. it is a question of when will there be a nasty virus made for OSX. To believe other wise is just naive stupid and just asking for it to happen.

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