How safe is Windows?

DanK104

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 6, 2006
37
0
I am running Parallels 4.0 with Windows XP on my iMac. I installed it so that I could test out and view my iWeb-created web pages on Windows. I have only used it for browsing. No email, no games, no downloading of music, so until now I wasn't too worried about viruses, spyware, etc.

Now I am looking at using a Windows-only financial program (supplied by my brokerage), and am concerned about Windows security. Using this program I will be accessing my brokerage account, entering my user name and password, accessing my accounts, etc. Suddenly security is an issue!

Do I need to be concerned about anything, and if so, what safety measures should I take?

I have installed the free AVG antivirus on Windows. On the iMac I am running the OSX 10.6 Firewall in the "Automatically allow signed software..." mode. My router also has a Firewall, set to "Medium security: Inbound policy: Reject".

Any advice????

Thanks!
Dan
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,929
38
Australia
Get a good Anti-Virus + Firewall for Windows if you're really worried, don't download sus programs or go to fishy sites, also a good idea might be to have an administrator account you don't use often, and a limited account you use for DLing going to websites etc... you'll have to enter your password often to approve stuff, less chance of stuff going wrong, but it may be unnecessary.

I like to keep my Parallels security settings high, so Windows doesn't have access to OSX, only OSX to Windows.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
AVG or MSE, both already mentioned, combined with your firewall and router should be just fine.

As long as you don't browse shady sites (read: torrents and porn) and you are smart about not downloading and executing programs from unknown websites or shady links sent from your friends (e.g. those MSN spam links), you're good.
 

tomllama

macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2007
175
1
CA
Parallels 5 includes anti-virus software (and is faster/better than version 4).

I've been using Parallels since v3 to run a couple Windows only programs on my MP and MBP without issue. Parallels makes file sharing between the OS's much easier than the efforts required by boot camp.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors 604
May 28, 2005
7,984
533
Pennsylvania
In many cases, Windows is more secure than OS X. The issue is, many times the user clicks "OK" or "Install" or does something that will install the trojans themselves. There are more Windows trojans, but as long as you don't install any rogue software, Windows is probably more secure than OS X.
 

MythicFrost

macrumors 68040
Mar 11, 2009
3,929
38
Australia
Unfortunately, unless you're getting targeted by a good hacker that knows what they're doing, Windows is way more vulnerable, because there are millions and millions of trojans, viruses, root kits, all kinds of things...
 

JavierP

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2008
134
0
Don't install software that you dont need. Dont install popular stuff that's full of
sec holes such as flash, acrobat reader. Dont use a popular internet browser (go with Opera, Foxit reader if you need them). Don't use admin accounts. Use a different user account for the accounting program.
 

Buzz Bumble

Guest
Oct 19, 2008
802
2
New Zealand
In many cases, Windows is more secure than OS X. The issue is, many times the user clicks "OK" or "Install" or does something that will install the trojans themselves. There are more Windows trojans, but as long as you don't install any rogue software, Windows is probably more secure than OS X.
Yeah, right ... and pigs fly, money grows on trees, and Fort Knox is way more secure when they go home at night leaving all the windows and dorrs wide open. :rolleyes:
 

nigameash

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2008
498
100
Space: The Final Frontier
As long as you dont install/run anything unrequired for the core reason that you installed windows, you're good to go :) If you have the extra money, get nod32 antivirus. If you dont have the money but want to get it anyway, just google "nod32 keys" ;) :p

ps: before the faithful software purchasers attack me, please remember that i didnt say PIRATE SOFTWARE, all i said is that if you want to do it, use google(as hes your best buddy) and heres a tip to find what you need ;)
 

SolRayz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2007
687
0
Ft. Lauderdale
In many cases, Windows is more secure than OS X. The issue is, many times the user clicks "OK" or "Install" or does something that will install the trojans themselves. There are more Windows trojans, but as long as you don't install any rogue software, Windows is probably more secure than OS X.
^lol

Windows is safe if you take all the precautions others have mentioned. But is it safe for your sanity? That is a whole other arguement...:D
 

TSE

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2007
2,988
575
St. Paul, Minnesota
Windows 7 with a good antivirus (Microsoft Security Essentials or Avira Antivir) is very secure.

Windows Vista is just as secure, but has annoying settings that annoy you to the point where you are desensitized to being annoyed.

Windows XP isn't as secure, but with a good anti virus should be alright for most people.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,432
1,401
Isla Nublar
In many cases, Windows is more secure than OS X. The issue is, many times the user clicks "OK" or "Install" or does something that will install the trojans themselves. There are more Windows trojans, but as long as you don't install any rogue software, Windows is probably more secure than OS X.
Um...no.

Windows is not even close to being as secure as a a *nix system. Microsofts biggest problem is they can't seem to give up the registry.

Aside from that, I run windows as a virtual machine all the time. I only use it if I have to program using MFC. If you don't go browsing the internet with it all the time and downloading all kinds of software you should be fine.

Granted, most viruses/malware go completely undetected because contrary to popular belief, they don't want to be found and will use your computer system for whatever purpose and try and stay hidden. If you do get infected and don't have any type of security suite installed you'll probably never know you're infected.

Even though a windows virus/malware CANNOT run on a mac or do anything with the mac OS, you can still harbor windows viruses on a mac and reinfect windows machines if you put an infected file on a thumbdrive or such.
 

TuffLuffJimmy

macrumors G3
Apr 6, 2007
8,989
25
Portland, OR
In many cases, Windows is more secure than OS X. The issue is, many times the user clicks "OK" or "Install" or does something that will install the trojans themselves. There are more Windows trojans, but as long as you don't install any rogue software, Windows is probably more secure than OS X.
I would like to see any evidence that supports this claim.
 

gorjan

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2009
356
0
CPH
In many cases, Windows is more secure than OS X. The issue is, many times the user clicks "OK" or "Install" or does something that will install the trojans themselves. There are more Windows trojans, but as long as you don't install any rogue software, Windows is probably more secure than OS X.
Though I don't agree with your point about Win being more secure, we really have no idea. We know that Windows is susceptible to viruses, trojans, but we don't know anything about these dangers in OS X. Apple never tells us about any fixes and what the problems were, MS is on the other hand very open in their security fixes for Windows.

My point being, we don't really know if OS X is as secure as we think it is. :confused:
 

Bengt77

macrumors 68000
Jun 7, 2002
1,518
0
Europe
Windows Vista is just as secure, but has annoying settings that annoy you to the point where you are desensitized to being annoyed.
For years, the computer world begged for Microsoft to release an operating system with tighter security. Everybody wanted to have them release an OS that wouldn't make it easy for people to tinker with the system and security settings. And then, when Microsoft actually listens to those pleas for just once, everybody starts jelling about how the tightened security and the security override pop-ups are mightily annoying. What do you want, people? And now security control has been loosened a bit again, with Windows 7. So in a way, Windows Vista is the most secure OS that Microsoft ever released. Very weird how people responded to features they had been requesting for years...
 

Willi Gofarr

macrumors newbie
Nov 30, 2009
11
0
London and New York
May I also suggest that you have separate Parallels virtual machines for your Brokerage usage and other Windows usage? That way you can keep your differing usages sandboxed from the other, especially if they're stripped out of all the stuff you don't need (eg: do you need Media Player for your Brokerage software?).

And if you've the spare space, take regular snapshots so that if you think you've accidentally picked up something nasty you an easily roll-back to a known clean copy.
 

TSE

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2007
2,988
575
St. Paul, Minnesota
For years, the computer world begged for Microsoft to release an operating system with tighter security. Everybody wanted to have them release an OS that wouldn't make it easy for people to tinker with the system and security settings. And then, when Microsoft actually listens to those pleas for just once, everybody starts jelling about how the tightened security and the security override pop-ups are mightily annoying. What do you want, people? And now security control has been loosened a bit again, with Windows 7. So in a way, Windows Vista is the most secure OS that Microsoft ever released. Very weird how people responded to features they had been requesting for years...
Windows 7 is just as secure as Windows Vista for the average person that doesn't click on pop-ups or installs "FREEPORN.exe".
 

Eric S.

macrumors 68040
Feb 1, 2008
3,598
0
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
I have been running Windows XP part-time on my Macbooks for almost 2 years. I run AV software and always keep up with the latest security patches from Microsoft and I haven't been bitten by anything (yet).
 

IntelliUser

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2009
376
4
Why does it matter?
I am running Parallels 4.0 with Windows XP on my iMac. I installed it so that I could test out and view my iWeb-created web pages on Windows. I have only used it for browsing. No email, no games, no downloading of music, so until now I wasn't too worried about viruses, spyware, etc.

Now I am looking at using a Windows-only financial program (supplied by my brokerage), and am concerned about Windows security. Using this program I will be accessing my brokerage account, entering my user name and password, accessing my accounts, etc. Suddenly security is an issue!

Do I need to be concerned about anything, and if so, what safety measures should I take?

I have installed the free AVG antivirus on Windows. On the iMac I am running the OSX 10.6 Firewall in the "Automatically allow signed software..." mode. My router also has a Firewall, set to "Medium security: Inbound policy: Reject".

Any advice????

Thanks!
Dan
Don't listen to anybody who says that a free av will be fine. Because it won't.

Get an av with a high detection rate and light on resources, such as Avira (The Premium version should be fine). Or you can just install the Parallels Security Suite that comes with Parallels 4.0 (though it's based on a 3 year old version of Kaspersky, which isn't that light or at the level of Avira).

Then get Keyscrambler, this thing basically encrypts all your keystrokes so that even if a keylogger manages to get onto your system, it will just record gibberish [of course this app is bypassable, but it's still better than nothing].

Finally, IF you want to be extra-secure, you could run your financial app sandbox with something like Sandboxie.

That is my advice. OR you can listen to the others and use a free av, risking to get your account hacked.

PS: Have you tried running your financial app with Crossover or MacWindows? ('cause that would eliminate the need for additional security).
 

Buzz Bumble

Guest
Oct 19, 2008
802
2
New Zealand
I haven't been bitten by anything (yet).
That you know of!

This ancient Windoze box I'm stuck with for Internet access (due to a hopeless ISP) has Avast running and still manages to get infected with nasties that aren't picked up instantly nor during a scan using Avast ad other scanners. :(

Some of them "display" an invisble window that bocks menu access, so they're easy to spot, but others I only know have been installed because I can see the dial-up modem lights flickering away when I 100% know they shouldn't be and the computer gets even slower than it normall is. The only way to get rid of them is to trawl through the Registry manually deleting entries that shouldn't be there. People with a fast PC and a fast Internet connection probably wouldn't even notice them.