Mactel and Viruses

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madtodaimax

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 30, 2004
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One of the biggest reasons for making the switch was the idea that there really arent any viruses for the osx. how does switching to intel affect this, if at all?
 

geeman

macrumors regular
Nov 27, 2001
152
0
At My Mac
madtodaimax said:
One of the biggest reasons for making the switch was the idea that there really arent any viruses for the osx. how does switching to intel affect this, if at all?
A machine's CPU architecture has no bearing upon its susceptibility to viruses. It's primarily the operating system that's vulnerable (though it's theoretically possible for a machine to get infected through applets such as Java and/or Flash - never seen one though...).

There are millions of machines using Intel hardware that never get viruses. How? Because they're not running Redmond's finest! I'm thinking about the various Linux distributions and Solaris x86.

Hope that helps.
 

semaja2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2005
575
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Adelaide
well its quite simple, just trick a user after downloading a crack to install the crack which piggy backs malware which would mean the install needs the root password, after that is given that machine is infected
 

killmoms

macrumors 68040
Jun 23, 2003
3,722
13
Washington, DC
semaja2 said:
well its quite simple, just trick a user after downloading a crack to install the crack which piggy backs malware which would mean the install needs the root password, after that is given that machine is infected
And that would be a trojan that relies on user stupidity, not a virus. NO platform is immune from a dumb user. That's what we call a PEBKAC problem.
 

MUCKYFINGERS

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2005
768
15
CA
The vast majority of PC virus vulnerability is due to a poorly coded, bad operating system on Microsoft's part, and not the architecture on which the machine and operating system is run on.
 

Lazyhound

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2005
170
0
semaja2 said:
well its quite simple, just trick a user after downloading a crack to install the crack which piggy backs malware which would mean the install needs the root password, after that is given that machine is infected
Technically, that's a trojan, not a virus.
 

steve_hill4

macrumors 68000
May 15, 2005
1,856
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NG9, England
kainjow said:
*sigh* let's discuss this again for the 10-billionth time... :rolleyes:
I know, but many switchers or those considering it still don't understand it all. As long as you've got some that start misinforming them, they become confused and disorientated.
 

RacerX

macrumors 65832
Aug 2, 2004
1,504
2
Well, I've had my ThinkPad for about 8 years... pretty much up and running 24/7 and always connected to the internet. I have never had any viruses and never used any antivirus software on it.

How is this possible?

In the beginning it was running NEXTSTEP 3.3, then OPENSTEP 4.1 and 4.2, and nearly 6 years ago I started running Apple's Rhapsody 5.1 on it.

There is nothing inherently wrong with PC hardware... people are only at risk when they run Microsoft software on PC hardware. No Microsoft software, no threat of viruses. Pretty much that simple.
 

jhu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2004
854
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MUCKYFINGERS said:
The vast majority of PC virus vulnerability is due to a poorly coded, bad operating system on Microsoft's part, and not the architecture on which the machine and operating system is run on.
they're actually due to ancillary programs (except for internet explorer), user "stupidity", and that ms is a large multinational corporation that crackers like to target, and windows has an extremely large user-base world wide
 

semaja2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2005
575
0
Adelaide
the base reason on why macosx is secure is cuz unix was designed around multi user and to have only one admin account, where as windows wasnt designed to be multiuser when it came out, and to date every user account is a admin well they have limited users but there crap and cant even run microsoft software.

macosx - user is infecteted by virus, unless he give the admin account it will only affect his account

windows - user is infected by virus, his account has full access over the system, virus spreads through the pc and spreads accross the network... etc

PS windows also does have bad coding but macosx could have bad coding, but once again most services dont run as root and have very very limited user accounts
 

TrenchMouth

macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2002
282
0
Cless said:
NO platform is immune from a dumb user.
No truer words have been spoken when the topic is computer viruses. A secure operating system goes a long way. Apple has that. The hardware really isn't the issue. Again, the user is the toughest variable to control.

As an aside, the switch to Intel may propt the creation of more viruses for Mac OS X if it also correlates to an increase in user base. Viruses are vanity programs, and you can't achieve much fame affecting only 5% of the market (accept of course to say that you created the only bad virus on the Mac platform...:rolleyes: )
 

jhu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2004
854
0
semaja2 said:
the base reason on why macosx is secure is cuz unix was designed around multi user and to have only one admin account, where as windows wasnt designed to be multiuser when it came out, and to date every user account is a admin well they have limited users but there crap and cant even run microsoft software.

macosx - user is infecteted by virus, unless he give the admin account it will only affect his account

windows - user is infected by virus, his account has full access over the system, virus spreads through the pc and spreads accross the network... etc

PS windows also does have bad coding but macosx could have bad coding, but once again most services dont run as root and have very very limited user accounts
that's not quite correct because there are certain vulnerabilities in either os x or ancillary applications, which if unpatched, allow execution of arbitrary code and subsequently root access.
 

semaja2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2005
575
0
Adelaide
jhu said:
that's not quite correct because there are certain vulnerabilities in either os x or ancillary applications, which if unpatched, allow execution of arbitrary code and subsequently root access.

hence why i said most not all but most, but one thing is, what is this idea of a small user base making a virus for mac/unix you could rebuild it for either probally and infect a HUGE amount of systems, most web servers are run by linux
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,650
28
USA
TrenchMouth said:
....

As an aside, the switch to Intel may propt the creation of more viruses for Mac OS X if it also correlates to an increase in user base. Viruses are vanity programs, and you can't achieve much fame affecting only 5% of the market (accept of course to say that you created the only bad virus on the Mac platform...:rolleyes: )
MacOS X 10 is secure by design. There are zero (0) MacOS X viruses. Marketshare has virtually nothing to do with it. If MacOS X increases its marketshare, its design will not change (except for normal evolution). In that event, expect no increase in viruses.

You have a fairly bizarre notion of how to get publicity. Take a look at SARC. On Wednesday, January 18, 2006, SARC discovered five (5) new Windows viruses. On Thursday, it discovered one (1) new Windows virus; on Friday, two (2). Do you honestly believe that a virus writer would have received more publicity for developing the third Windows virus on Friday than he would have received for developing the first MacOS X virus ever?
 

yankeefan24

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2005
1,104
0
NYC
there are some virus' for mac (supposedly, i never had one or expect to get one), but not nearly as many as for windows. About 1/1,000 of as many. you should be fine. not enough major companies use macs for people to want to hack into them. the armys is too secure for people to try hacking in, and macs don't have enough market share for personal reasons.
 

yankeefan24

macrumors 65816
Dec 24, 2005
1,104
0
NYC
my long post never submitted…here is a summary: very few (if any) virus' for mac, not enough companies use it, not enough people use it personally, the army designs software to make it unhackable. ITS NOT WORTH A HACKERS TIME. SAME FOR VIRUS MAKERS.

EDIT: now it shows up. sry about the double post.
 

jhu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2004
854
0
MisterMe said:
MacOS X 10 is secure by design. There are zero (0) MacOS X viruses. Marketshare has virtually nothing to do with it. If MacOS X increases its marketshare, its design will not change (except for normal evolution). In that event, expect no increase in viruses.

You have a fairly bizarre notion of how to get publicity. Take a look at SARC. On Wednesday, January 18, 2006, SARC discovered five (5) new Windows viruses. On Thursday, it discovered one (1) new Windows virus; on Friday, two (2). Do you honestly believe that a virus writer would have received more publicity for developing the third Windows virus on Friday than he would have received for developing the first MacOS X virus ever?
nevermind that most of those "viruses" are actually trojans that require the user to download and execute the program. current "virus" writers are using their skills for profit (quite a bit work for overseas criminal organizations) and not prestige or infamy: obtaining passwords, account information, zombifying machines for ddos extortion, etc. now, as a money-grubbing cracker, do you go for the 5% of users (non-windows) or the other 95% (windows)?

i would also disagree with the marketshare not contributing to viral proliferation. if os x has a 95% total user base, there would definitely be a marked increase in the number of os x vulnerability exploits.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
Before this degenerates into a flame war:

-OS X running on Intel for the most part will not suffer any security issues (explained below)
-A system is about as secure as the user
-OS X does have security flaws. Why else are there security updates released for it? However, they tend to be harder to exploit in the ways that they require physical access OR they require the user to do something stupid.
-See these articles: Linkety #1 Linkety #2 Linkety #3 Linkety #4 (Press Release)
-Windows can be made secure, but not as secure as OS X. Firefox, etc. helps but OS X is inherently more secure.

About Intel CPUs...
This is rather confusing, and I'm sorry if I don't explain it too well. The processor stores data to be executed in a 'stack'. This stack is run through, code is run, results returned, etc. A common way to attack a computer system is to overflow a buffer in the computer's memory, which lets you then rewrite parts of the stack to do YOUR code.
This mostly relies on you being able to break the code and have buffer overflows.
PowerPC CPUs are better-designed in the way the you call to the stack vs. the x86 CPUs to prevent against this.
In theory, this means Macs are now more susceptible.
In practice, IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING SO DON'T GET LACERO's PANTIES IN A BUNCH!
 

shrimpdesign

macrumors 6502a
Dec 9, 2005
611
0
yankeefan24 said:
there are some virus' for mac (supposedly, i never had one or expect to get one), but not nearly as many as for windows. About 1/1,000 of as many. you should be fine. not enough major companies use macs for people to want to hack into them. the armys is too secure for people to try hacking in, and macs don't have enough market share for personal reasons.
The market share theory doesn't work. Mac OS X has no viruses, only Mac OS 9 and earlier.
 

Counterfit

macrumors G3
Aug 20, 2003
8,202
0
sitting on your shoulder
You should all be reminded that there have been at least two proof-of-concept viruses for OS X. I recall one of them was if an MP3 was double-clicked, any code contained in a resource fork in the file would be run. The trouble with that was if the file had passed through a Windows machine (or anything else that doesn't support resource forks) unmodified (archived or such), the resource fork would be stripped, and thus, no more virus. I don't think it was ever developed into anything malicious.

Of course, there are also Office macro viruses, but I've never even seen one (although I know they exist).
 

jhu

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2004
854
0
Mechcozmo said:
Before this degenerates into a flame war:

-OS X running on Intel for the most part will not suffer any security issues (explained below)
-A system is about as secure as the user
-OS X does have security flaws. Why else are there security updates released for it? However, they tend to be harder to exploit in the ways that they require physical access OR they require the user to do something stupid.
-See these articles: Linkety #1 Linkety #2 Linkety #3 Linkety #4 (Press Release)
-Windows can be made secure, but not as secure as OS X. Firefox, etc. helps but OS X is inherently more secure.

About Intel CPUs...
This is rather confusing, and I'm sorry if I don't explain it too well. The processor stores data to be executed in a 'stack'. This stack is run through, code is run, results returned, etc. A common way to attack a computer system is to overflow a buffer in the computer's memory, which lets you then rewrite parts of the stack to do YOUR code.
This mostly relies on you being able to break the code and have buffer overflows.
PowerPC CPUs are better-designed in the way the you call to the stack vs. the x86 CPUs to prevent against this.
In theory, this means Macs are now more susceptible.
In practice, IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING SO DON'T GET LACERO's PANTIES IN A BUNCH!
powerpc and x86 implement stacks slightly differently (i think in the direction they grow). however, i don't know if 32-bit implementations of powerpc have the no-execute bit. the ppc970 does. additionally, i don't know if darwin supports no-execute either in hardware or software emulation.
 

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