About the whole "OSX gets virtually no viruses" thing...

Discussion in 'macOS' started by TheOnlyOasis, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. TheOnlyOasis macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2007
    Okay, first off let me just say that I'm NOT suggesting that I'll be downloading illegal files or anything. If there is a product that I think is worth having, I'll buy it. However, before I buy a mac I just want to clear a few things up. Here's a question that neither of my mac-user friends could answer:

    Its pretty wide-spread that Mac OSX has virtually no viruses, as opposed to windows which has seemingly infinite amounts of possible spyware/viruses/whatnot. Well, it seems like a LOT of the viruses windows users get are attained from trying to download illegal files/programs/applications/music/movies onto their computer from things like limewire or torrents or file-sharing message boards. I'm pretty sure there are torrents and ways to download things illegally for Mac also. So, are these things also considered to be free of malware and viruses? Or do these have a high concentration of crap like they have for windows?

  2. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    99% chance you won't get any viruses even from questionable content.

    Doesn't mean bad coding won't crash your computer.
  3. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    It doesn't matter if what you download is infected with a virus, because the viruses are all written for windows. there's nothing inherent about downloaded files that make them have viruses, people simply need to write them for a specific platform. Mac OS doesn't have viruses written for it. Whether that's because of its small market share, or because Mac OS is more secure (probably a bit of both), people just haven't made viruses for mac OS that have been "in the wild".
  4. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    there are zero viruses for OS X version 10.5.3 that doesn't mean there isn't malware. Just don't type in your password if a photo, song or video asks for it as most likely it's some nasty malware.
  5. TheOnlyOasis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2007
    I see... alright, this may be a bit of a n00bish question, but the types of files that are for windows (like .mpg, .avi, .jpg, .doc, .pdf, and so forth) are they the same for mac? Or like, if you download firefox or something, when you download it for the mac, is it the same thing you download or is it a different filetype?
  6. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    documents, music files, video files, disk images (for the most part), pdf's etc are all cross platform compatible.

    Applications (programs) are not. There is a firefox for windows and one for OSX. The core of Firefox is the same, however what it is compiled as and a few other things are different between the two. .exe will never run on OS X though.
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Data files are the same. JPGs, MPGs, Word docs, etc.

    Program files are different. A Windows binary file (.exe file) will not run on a Mac (though of course it will run if you boot into Windows on your Mac). So even if the .exe file is infected with a virus, downloading it to your Mac will have no effect.

    Most of the attacks that are based on infected data files work by inserting executable code into the data file and then tricking the computer into running it (e.g. the iPod touch jailbreak works this way too). If you download an infected JPG, for example, you're still safe because the infected payload is generally still a Windows binary.

    There are no viruses for OS X, *but* there are a number of trojan horses and examples of programs that look like data files but contain Mac binary code that can do (limited) harm.

    So, yes, you are 100% immune from any Windows-based virus or trojan on Mac OS X. But there are a few trojans for OS X.
  8. ert3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 10, 2007
    The problem in your logic is the fact that the way unix functions the user must willingly install all running applications.

    Also background applications can't gain access without user permission.

    truth be told though if an application where to subversively attain your password (which would require you give it permission, and had a certain set of access strings from apple. then yes it could be viral. though that is a far cry from plausible and feasible.
  9. sOwL macrumors 6502


    Sep 25, 2007
    Nerd Cave
    ok, things are like that:

    There are NO viruses for macs, there were 1 or 2 all these years, but i wouldnt bother worrying about that. And those cant harm u unless u run OS 9 or something :p

    The fact that there are no viruses on macs, doesnt means that there is no MALWARE. Windows users oftenly name "malware" as "viruses" which is why the whole confusion is all about. There is malware for macs, mostly trojans, but yet again the Unix philosophy makes it sure that if a malicious file is going to harm you, it will first have gained priviledges from the user, hence, as soon ur carefull, ur safe.

    Windows viruses or any other windows malware CANT harm you at all, simply because theyre coded to run on windows, and not on macs. Windows executable files (.exe) wont run on macs.
  10. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    "OS X has virtually no viruses"

    Yeah, that's a misnomer. The "virtually" shouldn't be there.

    It always annoys me to see Consumer Reports or wherever stating that, "OS X is less susceptible to viruses than Windows." You just want to say, "You're wrong! It's insusceptible to the current slew of viruses! State the truth, you yahtzees!"
  11. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
  12. Sijmen macrumors 6502a

    Sep 7, 2005
  13. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Beware of trojans. There is one circulating on porn sites. It is a .dmg - so when opened up, you'll have to run the installer. Then, it'll ask you for your password so it can install and be a nuisance.

    So, as long as you don't end up in that trap (which if anyone has, is completely and utterly stupid) then you'll be fine!

    But you can't say you are completely safe - use the OS X firewall, and beware of anything dodgy that might come off a website (like the porn scenario).
  14. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Yep, use your brain for porn surfing.

    when you see "your machine doesn't have the codec to run this" ... beware of downloading the SW from the porn site.

    Get your updates directly from the trusted sites for QT, DivX, and Flip4Mac, etc. codecs.

    Since the Mac doesn't have all the codecs used on the PC anyway, there is the chance that some downloads simply won't work anyhow.
  15. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Mac user for nearly 20 years. Never had one virus (though a few actually did exist back in the System 7 days).
  16. glasserp macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2008
    Yup, rhinovirus... nasty stuff.
  17. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Even though your Mac won't be affected by the viruses you may download, they may be passed to your PC using friends and family if you were to share said content.
  18. jemeinc macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2004
    South Jersey

    I've never had one either, but weren't there quite a few (like 50 or so) for OS 9? I hated OS 9- for the first time in my life I actually considered alternatives- but then OS X came and all was well again in the Mac world- well Apple world that is, some of us old heads were using these things before there even was a "Mac".. Kinda scary how old I'm getting..
  19. Jazzandmetal? macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2008
    So if one was porn surfing and a window pops up after you click something and when you close said window a tiny box pops up and then another on top of it asking you to hit okay if you want to leave the site, can you click ok and not have to worry about anything and also hit okay on the small box underneath it? I have had that happen twice. Never put in or was asked for a password.
  20. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I'm going to elaborate on what probably already got answered, but bear with me if you like.

    Yeah, those file types are the same. Due to the ongoing evolution of networking, the file types are able to be ported across platforms. The file systems don't matter when you're doing stuff over networks. So if you create a Word document on a PC, it's usable on a Mac. There may be a file system issue trasnferring it (flash drives have to be FAT32 to work on both), but it's much better than back in the 1990s. I just added a third external hard drive on my network formatted with the Mac OS file format. It wouldn't work at all plugged up to the USB port of a PC, but it's all good over a network. There's a lot of mumbo jumbo that goes on to make this work.

    The only issue you'll have is finding applications written for Mac. There aren't as many, but a good bit of that is games. I can't think of anything useful off the top of my head that isn't made for Mac aside from games. Microsoft decided to stop updated Windows Media Player, but that's about it. You can download software to convert those to mpeg anyway.
  21. Asu macrumors member


    Apr 28, 2006
    My first computer was a Powerbook 140

    with, I believe, System 7.1?

    I lost count how many macs I have had. NOT ONCE HAD A VIRUS.

    Ah, the Powerbook 140... 16 MHz processor, 4 MB of RAM, 40 MB HD.

    I was running my office with a Filemaker Pro 2 database. Those were the days.
  22. MacBoy08 macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2008
    Fort Smith

    "i had a cold once.

    my mac has never had a cold"

  23. Blue Fox macrumors 6502a

    Blue Fox

    Apr 13, 2009
    When I got my first iMac (plastic Intel-Based)....I never turned it off until I replaced it with a 20" Aluminum iMac. (a year and a half I believe). For S**ts and giggles, I installed anti-virus/spyware/malware and ran it. It found NOTHING.

    Did the same thing to my 20" Aluminum iMac when I replaced it with a 24".....same thing, No viruses, no spyware, no malware.

    That, compared with my parents Vista machine........which gets a new virus every week or so.........and since, they've bought my 20" iMac from me.
  24. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  25. Pika macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2008

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