Security!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Damien, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. Damien macrumors regular

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    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Canterbury
    #1
    We know that macs are not as insecure as windows but is there anything other than turning on the internal firewall i should do to keep it secure? Do macs get spyware? Can we be hacked? My uni is full of viruses over the network, am I helping in the spread of them?
     
  2. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #2
    i have the Mac firewall on at all times plus i have a firewall in my router - as far as i know mac's do not get viruses or spyware but can pass them on in e-mail - so you will be fine
     
  3. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #3
    Keep up with the updates from Apple and only install software from parties you trust, and all should be fine.
     
  4. mdavey macrumors 6502a

    mdavey

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    #4
    Security is all about reducing risks - it depends how far you want to go. Most Mac users enable the built-in firewall and leave it at that.

    Some users turn on the firewall portion of their router. If you use a broadband router, it supports this and you know how to enable and configure it, then go ahead and do so.

    I choose to use a dedicated software firewall between my home network and my router. I use an old 286 with a 512MB HDD - it runs an OpenSource firewall based on Linux. I am in the minority of Mac users in doing this.

    There has never been a report of a major virus, crack, spyware or malware incident on Mac OS X and there has never been a report of any virus for Mac OS X taking hold (ISTR some academics demonstrating something under lab conditions when Mac OS X first came out, but never anything in the wild).

    There is spyware for Mac OS X but it requires either the administrator password or an OS exploit to install. I have never seen any reports of the later being used to install spyware.

    Mac OS X security is based on Unix, which is very robust - the weak point is the user. Make sure you pick hard-to-guess passwords for all your system users and especially for your administrator password. Never use a password based on a name or a dictionary word.

    Make sure you only install software from reputable sources and never type your administrator password into a password field unless you know why the system is asking for it and you have explicity asked the system to do something that requires the administrator password.

    To emphasise the last paragraph, Sony recently received a lot of press for installing flawed spyware on Windows and Mac systems. When you inserted a particular audio CD, the spyware installer would run. On Mac OS X, the installer would then prompt for the administrator password. Obviously, an audio CD should not need the administrator password in order for you to listen to your music. The software was flawed in that it significantly reduced the security of the Windows OS it was installed on, allowing malware (viruses and suchlike) to hide from the system administrator and his/her security tools.

    It is possible. Mac OS X and BSD both have security vulnerabilities. It is, however, very unlikely. You can reduce the risks further by making sure that you always apply the Mac OS X security updates as soon as they become abailable and using at least one firewall (whether it is the one built into Mac OS X, the one in your router, or whatever).

    If you often exchange documents (particularly MS Office documents) with other users or forward on emails with strange attachements, you might be helping the spread of viruses. If you are worried about this and feel like being a good citizen, you could check out one of the anti-virus software packages for Mac OS X.
     
  5. Will Cheyney macrumors 6502a

    Will Cheyney

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    Jul 13, 2005
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    United Kingdom
    #5
    Has anyone here ever been subject to such nasties though?
     
  6. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #6
  7. Will Cheyney macrumors 6502a

    Will Cheyney

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  8. Damien thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 2, 2004
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    Canterbury
    #8
    Ok, Cool. What I am worried about is i am connected to the uni network. (in halls). I would like some level pf protection especially as what network data comes in and what comes out of my mac. Are there any good free firewalls for mac?

    Also the fact viruses are running around the network like crazy, my windoz friends get them at least once a day. I know i am not affected but how does this work? Is my mac filling up with redundent viri and spreading them?
     
  9. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #9
    There is a firewall included in OS X. Go to system preferences and make sure it is turned on.
     
  10. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #10
    Yes! The one that comes with OS X is pretty good.

    Nope. Your Mac cannot get or transfer Windows only viruses.
     
  11. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #11
    Not your mac directly. If you got an email with an attachment that was a virus - and you forwarded on (you actually hit "send" and sent it on) to your Windoze friends, they could get the virus. There are no viruses for OSX at this time so it won't affect you. As a previous poster explained, if you are transferring attachments / documents often with Windows users, you may want to consider getting an anti-virus program. There are threads on this board that list some options, some free, some inexpensive.

    If you have Tiger and get Norton Anti Virus - get version 10. Previous versions of Norton Anti Virus now "don't work" automatically on Tiger. Had a friend who spent some money and learned that the hard way - he bought version 9 to save a few bucks....
     
  12. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #12
    viruses are programs. Programs are platform specific. Thus, a virus written for windows cannot affect a mac. The most you could do is download the affected file from your email (you'd have to manually do this), and then manually pass it on. Throw out the file and the virus is gone because it cannot execute its code to install onto your machine (nor would it do any good if it could, since mac OS and windows are completely different). So unless you are manually forwarding virus infected files, you aren't spreading anything and your mac is not filling up with anything. As far as your mac is concerned, any virus you download is just a file it can't open. viruses don't tend to target macs because of the small market share and the relative security fo the OS by default.

    Doesn't OS X have a built in firewall? that's probably all you'd need. You probably don't even really need that, but it want to feel extra secure, go for it.
     
  13. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

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    Dec 29, 2003
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    #13
    In regards to my last post, I'm not recommending / not recommending Norton. If you do use norton though, just make sure you have all the facts before you buy.

    I found their Antivirus for Jaguar was ok, but Systemworks, the firewall and other programs for OSX are junk. That's why they don't make them any more. Caused more problems then they solved it seems... by reading the threads on this board.
     
  14. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    #14
    If you want the facts, then here they are. They are all junk. Being that there are no viruses for Mac, they solve no problems.
     
  15. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    #15
    Norton and Virex apps for OS X are all crap.

    Use LITTLE SNITCH (find it on macupdate.com) if you are concerned about programs and other things making outside connections.

    Intego is good, but they are a company you should not trust since they have a habit of updating your software without your consent and asking money for the new versions.

    OS X can run in stealth mode, I suggest you use it.

    OS X's firewall is awesome.

    I believe Sunshield is a good 3rd party, free firewall extension for OS X.

    Yes, your Mac can pass Windows viruses through emails, and if you have a version of windows installed via Virtual PC it can be affected by such viruses and malware.

    There are known applescripts out in the wild that can do serious damage to your system. They do still need Admin passwords to initiate, but these will not be able to self-propogate as OS X is not built on a browser like Windows is (reason #1 why windows is such a piece of crap). These are most commonly found in cracks for applications that you want to steal.

    You should not worry about being hacked. If you do get hacked, it's most likely YOUR fault for not creating a secondary user account with a strong password for both that account and the admin account, and running in stealth mode.

    Anyone with an OS X boot disc cna change the password on your machine. You may want to look at installing the open-frimware password protection, and NEVER forgetting the password to that.

    I've hear that the exploit used in the matrix when Trinity attacks that building in the second or third one, is a known Unix vulnerability!

    That's the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Now hook me up with yoru 18 year old sister, please. :D
     
  16. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    There are no MacOS X viruses, but it is simply not true that antivirus software on the Mac solves no problems. First off, there are System 6- through MacOS 9-specific viruses which can infect your Mac. Antivirus software will disinfect these old files if they are infected. As others have said, MacOS X antivirus software will disinfect Windows viruses. This can be extremely important in the work environment.

    Just for fun: Forward an infected file that you received from a Windows-using colleague. Then tell your IT staff that there are no MacOS X viruses. Share their response with this forum.
     
  17. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

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    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #17

    i agree , i used norton and virex on my first mac iBook G3 800 and it crippled it :rolleyes: performance wise that is
     
  18. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

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    Jul 28, 2003
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    #18
    I think that by this point in time, when we talk about Mac software/viruses/etc, we are talking about OS X unless explicitly stated. Anyone dissagree?

    Not as important as you might suspect. Worms for windows cannot get into a OS X Machine. A trojan can, but it can't transfer unless you specifically transfer the file that it is attached to. A virus can, but it can't transfer unless you specifically transfer it. So unless you are manually forwarding enfected email, or are transfering executables (I don't knows why you would since Macs can't run the same executables as windows), you are ok. No reason to run antivirus at all.

    That would just be stupid.
     
  19. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #19
    I appreciate your "just for fun" comment, and have to agree with you about responsible computing. :D.

    Grapes911, I appreciate your comments too... but if this person is interacting a lot with Windows users, the "just for fun" comment above might happen by accident - because you may not know....
     

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