Lack of Mac malware baffles experts

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacBytes, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. MacBytes macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003
  2. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Last sentence:

    I dread the day I see malware on my iMac.
  3. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    ah, more of the "secure through obscurity" reasoning.

    every OS has flaws, yes. but OS X is hardly obscure these days.
  4. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Apple's OS X is hardly obscure, but it is still a minority of the market.

    Why would one work on the minority of the market when one could work on the majority of the market? Majority is an easier catch.
  5. Lancetx macrumors 68000


    Aug 11, 2003
    Because the notoriety of being the first to do such a thing would easily make it more than worth their while. Minority status or not, after all this time it's rather obvious that market share has precious little to do with why there isn't any OS X malware.
  6. macduke macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    With a high profile company like Apple, who makes huge claims about how secure their OS is compared to Windows, there is no reason it hasn't happened except that it can't be done. I know hackers, mainly from what one of my white hat friend has told me, who are up for cracking any system, especially those with a high difficulty. They would get a lot of publicity for breaking down OS X. Hackers thrive on showing off their 1337 skill. The obscurity explanation is what people who can't actually hack it will tell you. Believe me, they've tried.
  7. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    Speaking on a "time is money" basis, people would make more money faster developing and reusing malware/viruses/trojans for Windows than for OS X (because the information is already out there). Notoriety isn't something *everyone* wants.
  8. winmacguy macrumors 68020


    Nov 8, 2003
    New Zealand
    I actually checked the date of the article just after I posted it and it appears to be dated March 2007:eek: So it is actually a bit of an old article.
  9. wadejc85 macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I don't deny this. I'm speaking more along the lines of installing malware on a computer without the owner knowing for profit, not notoriety.
  10. diogenis macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2008
    There are two roads:
    The notoriety road which will ultimately proven more lucrative for the individual that will manage to break the system, and
    The more direct approach of dipping into your wallets. None of them are crossed yet, because we would know by now if they did.
    Apparently it can't be done.
  11. Shasterball macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2007
  12. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Platforms far smaller than the Mac have had viruses. Obscurity is nice, but it's not the whole story.
  13. ubow macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2007
    This is interesting though one paragraph I do not agree with - "MacOS X systems are inherently more secure than other operating systems." It is not that Unix is invulnerable, it is a matter of how the OS accepts data being written at the application and core levels. Apple chose to limit modifying those layers through active acknowledgment (OS interrupt query and user name and password). This is something that Windows had ignored until Xp but was largely bypassed by the user. Vista makes it more difficult to bypass but still the user can opt to ignore security. With MacOS X you aren't given that option.

    The last five paragraphs are quite interesting. If that information is true, then malware will only target certain applications, particular servers and specific companies. Home users, even small businesses may be off the hook unless they run an application that is targeted. Only time will tell if this is the way things are headed.

    Regardless of market share, MacOS X is the most secure, if not the only secure OS available to the public today. More so, home users have less to be concerned about.
  14. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007

    You think that little "(insert application name here) was downloaded at (insert time here) are you sure you want to run it?" along with needing admin password for modifying the library is all it takes to keep Mac OS X secure?

    But XP has so many irritating popups too! "You're not connected", "Your network is at risk", "Steam Unexpectedly crashed"...

    actually... I can't remember XP ever asking me for a password or warning me about launching an application for the first time. lol. They managed to get several times as many annoying messages as Mac OS X but missed the ones that actually count towards security?

    (I've never used Linux but seeing as it has about 1/10th the marketshare of Mac OS X, I don't see why it would have 100x as many viruses as Mac OS X...)
  15. spydr macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2005
    My sense is that *most* of the malware/trojan/virus out there are created by teenage pranksters for notoriety and kick than for actually making loads of cash. I could be way off here — but, even if I am partially correct, it beats me why they would not write such malware for Macintosh given the fact even one minor proof of concept virus will make a *huge* news.

    The real reason is going to be a mixture of all reasons in varying proportions – but I feel the robustness of the Unix/BSD framework is a significant factor indeed.
  16. tomashi macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Why in the world are you posting articles that are so old????
  17. Porco macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2005
    Spot on. OS 9 had viruses. There were viruses for the Amiga too for example, and that was before the internet really took off. Yet with much more widespread internet usage and an increasing market share, OS X is still relatively untouched. The 'security through obscurity' argument simply cannot offer a full explanation of the lack of viruses and malware on OS X.
  18. The Truth macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2005
    at my wits end (in Australia)
    "This is more worrisome then the poor malicious demonstrators that the OS X threats of Leap and Macarena really represent".... is this in English?
  19. winmacguy macrumors 68020


    Nov 8, 2003
    New Zealand
    I didn't check the date until after I had submitted it.
  20. jayducharme macrumors 68030


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    Also, the way the OS deals with programs is completely different. Windows' Achilles heel has always been its System Registry. Every program has to go through it. But on Macs, programs are most often their own stand-alone units, isolated from anything in the "system." They use the simple plist files for storing and recalling data, and those are mostly kept in a user's library (not in the system library). So by design, it's more difficult for damaging rogue code to be surreptitiously executed.
  21. masteroflondon macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2007
    London, UK
    I just don't get the idea that virus writers are the most professional people on the Earth, only tackling a project after conducting all sorts of profit/cost and time & motion studies on it.

    People in all sorts of 'professions' would happily take a little time out to see if they can do something related to their 'work', to see if they can rise to a particular challenge. Can you really think that not one highly capable virus writer can't take a little time out of their busy and oh-so-efficiently organised schedule to just see if they can't be the very first to accomplish this? They could even put it on their csv.

    Virus writers began by doing just that, writing for kudos, as there was no money to be made originally.

    And how come other organisations and individuals manage to make money writing software for macs? This argument would suggest that any minute writing any software for a mac could have a potentially larger audience, and reward, if written for Windows. And yet people write for macs. People exploit the smallest of niches. I'm pretty sure viruses and similar stuff have been written for platforms way more obscure than a mac. I believe there was even some sort of virus for iPods that had been hacked by their users to run Linux?

    And, of course, substantial programs are also written as shareware. They manage to spend a considerable amount of time writing stuff for no financial reward whatsoever. This is motivated through altruism (and again, a little recognition from your peers etc must be welcome) rather than malice, but it clearly shows there are effective motivators other than cash.

    Not everyone wants notoriety, I agree, but it seems there is not one 'good' virus writer on the planet who wants this? Implausible.
  22. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    who wouldn't want to be known as the first to crack Mac OS X with a live virus? Fame equals money in that case I think. If they could, they would. It's that simple I think. I've cringed at the multiple reports I've heard, reports that explain how a hacker could get into the system? Why did no one seemingly jump on it? I bet they did, it just didn't work out. Like someone pointed out, there are plenty of unix viruses. Mac OS X is based on unix. So why isn't it affected? It's got more security. It's not obscurity, it's not that there wouldn't be any profit, it's security.
  23. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    This thread should be pulled.

    Like that idiotic stock guy Kramer who always works against Apple, this article was written


    And written by people who make a living off of viruses.

    I read it back then. Junk article then.

    Even more junk NOW.

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