Mac Security

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by MacSA, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. MacSA macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2003
    OK, I have a PC, (i'm looking into getting the iBook) and i've finally got totally p****d off with all the security issues - viruses, spyware, adware etc.

    Could somone clarify once and for all where the Mac platform stands in light of such security issues. Ive read there are no known viruses for Mac OSX, but what about all the other crap you have to deal with as a Windows PC user spyware etc?
  2. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    AFAIK there is no virus for OSX. As far as spyware goes it is the same I think. We do have the occasional script trojan but to get infected with those you'd have to be really stupid and download a kb file and mistake it for the full version of MS Office 2004. There were two or three security holes in safari and help too but they were fixed within days. So everything is moving a lot faster here.
    Concluding you can say that OSX isn't perfect but it is waaaay better in that aspect than Windows.
    I switched recently and I cannot beginn to tell you how relieving that feeling is not having to worry about viruses, etc. anymore.
  3. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    What do you mean "once and for all?" Is there any debate about this? OS X has no viruses or spyware. The only 2 ways I can think of for somebody to get your Mac to do bad things are to trick you into running a script or by having physical access to your computer. Neither are likely or common.
  4. matthew24 macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2002
    They are trying

    Many people are looking for possible holes in OSX, right now they are having a very hard time.

    OSX stands for securety. Spyware?: I don't think it is technical possible at all. You are save.
  5. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    Spyware and viruses for OSX are possible, somebody some day will find a way to make some. However, the one nice thing about having 2-5% of the market (argue however much you want about that) is that script kiddies or real virus writers just don't care enough about OSX to make stuff for it. We're still off the radar for them basically.

  6. yamabushi macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2003
    The security is better overall but not perfect.
  7. stoid macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    The actual theoretical security of Mac OS X is not all that better than Windows in terms of security flaws found an fixed over the past year. In the real world though, there are no viruses, spyware, trojans, or any type of malicious code written to exploit OS X's flaws.

    Apple may have a small market share, but the reason that fewer viruses exsist is because Apple is in general a nicer company that (until Konfabultor) doesn't step on many toes. There are very few people that hate Apple, and maybe none that hate Apple the way that some hackers or script kiddies HATE Microsoft.
  8. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    That's a nice vague no-brainer. Of course it's not perfect. You probably can't achieve perfection (though piggy backing on 35 years of Unix ain't a bad way to get close). In 4 years the best anybody has done so far is to disguise an AppleScript as an installer and trick somebody into downloading it and running it. I thought of that in about 10 seconds after I found out what an AppleScript is. People who know more than me haven't found something better than basic scripting and social engineering? I feel pretty secure.
  9. jimjiminyjim macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2003
    Adware isn't an issue either. The reason no one has addressed this is probably because we've never needed to think about it. The only ads that sometimes annoy us are pop-under or pop-up ads in our browsers, but even then, we can just select "block popup windows" in our Safari or Mozilla browsers.
  10. rueyeet macrumors 65816


    Jun 10, 2003
    Once and for all is a tall order--there's endless wrangling among the Mac and Windows camps and techie types over theoretical vs actual, security through obscurity, etc.

    So I'll just give you my take as a switcher who still uses Windows every day at work: The Mac is, far and away, a more painless experience when it comes to security.
    • The vulnerabilities that have been discovered have so far not been exploited. Probably this is both because of obscurity AND design, but as long as it holds true, only the technically-minded will care.
    • It's easier to keep your computer properly updated. Apple's Software Update, in my experience, is much easier than Windows Update: One window that tells you which Apple updates your system doesn't have yet, with checkboxes if you don't want to apply all of them, and they tell you if you'll need a re-start. Last I checked, Windows Update still makes you muck about with the Web.
    • Every other browser besides Internet Explorer allows you to turn off pop-ups. And OS X does not use the Windows Messenger technology that enables a significant portion of the non-Web ad pop-ups.
    • OS X does not use other proprietary Microsoft technologies, such as Active X, that are commonly utilized by malicious coders.
    • It's pretty easy to install adware and spyware without the user's knowledge or consent on Windows when using Internet Explorer. OS X asks for the admin password when installing programs, so it's much more difficult to do that kind of thing on the Mac without the user knowing about it.
    • Most Mac users simply don't run into adware or spyware at all, and don't bother with antivirus protection. This isn't necessarily a good thing, but it does say a lot about how little Mac users are concerned with these things.
    Okay, no, the Mac isn't perfect; some vulnerabilities were around a while before Apple got around to patching them, and ANY system can be hacked. But overall, maintaining a secure Mac is both simpler and easier, when compared to trying to keep a Windows PC clean. There's just less the ordinary user has to know and do, and really nothing extra to install.

    If you stick with a PC, use a browser other than Internet Explorer, keep up with Windows patches, use a firewall, use an antivirus program and update it regularly, and download Spybot Search & Destroy. That'll go a long way towards keeping your PC clean.

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