If a program can be installed without it asking for an admin password,then it's safe?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by doxavita, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. doxavita macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2010
    If a program can be installed without it asking for an admin password (similar to the way firefox can be installed: you just drag and drop into the applications folder and you're all set), then that program is usually safe, right?

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Yes, pretty much. If you have a question about the advisability of installing a particular app, use MRoogle to search this forum for that app name. You'll find what, if anything, others are saying about it. If you don't find any existing discussions about it, post the app name here and we can give you feedback on whether it's recommended or not.

    MRoogle is also a great tool to use before starting a new thread. Many of the topics you've shown an interest in have already been discussed in dozens, or even hundreds of threads. Searching before you post enables you to immediately find answers to your questions and fewer threads makes it easier for others to find answers, as well.
  3. iVoid macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2007
    Well, it will only ask for an admin password if there is something it has to install into the system directories.

    So it's safe as in 'it can't modify your system files'.

    It still could damage/delete files in your user directory or get personal info and transmit it somewhere.

    There are very few of these malicious apps for the Macs, though.
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Safe is perhaps too all inclusive a term. It is generally safe to run OS X apps because there is so little malware in existence. But it is a good habit to be careful. If you would prefer to be careful, here are some things to consider...

    If you install a program and it doesn't ask for admin privileges, it is safe-er than one that does. However any executable on Unix has the potential to contain malware and there are known techniques for Unix executables to obtain root access when run as a normal user. Happily there isn't much malware out that targets Linux or OS X right now, but I wouldn't download and run anything from those "link farm" sites that somehow manage to plant themselves near the top of google page rank yet do not contain original content, only links to original content. The best place to get OS X apps was recently taken down by apple but will soon be replaced by the OS X app store. Another good source is MacUpdate. I would avoid sites that don't "look quite right" and use Mroogle to search MacRumors before you trust and run OS X software you never heard of before. This is why OS X asks you each and every time you download and run something you never ran before!

    Another thing to avoid is being the middle man who spreads windows malware. Never forward a message containing executable content, even if that content is a windows exe file. Your friends might assume it's safe 'cuz they assume you use a Mac and can't spread windows malware but that doesn't mean you cant unknowingly spread it by unthinkingly forwarding email that contains it. There are a number of companies that sell OSX virus scanners which detect the handful of OS X exploits and scan for windows malware to help prevent you from unknowingly spreading it. This is overkill. If you take your time and are careful, it is fairly easy to avoid forwarding windows malware (attachments) to your friends. Extensions to watch out for are .exe, .wsh, and of course sneaky variants like .txt.exe and so forth.

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