More technical analysis of viruses, spyware, and malware.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by tuneman07, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. tuneman07 macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    I have been getting a lot of questions from friends and family about Mac as they are all getting fed up with their PC's. I have been using Mac for about 3 years now and have never had a problem with viruses or spyware but I can't find any good info on why viruses and spyware simply don't seem to exist on mac.

    There is a lot of "viruses are impossible, or have never happened etc..." but no real discussion as to why. Then there are the arguments that Mac is no more secure it simply isn't targeted because it is a smaller portion of the market which seems a bit worrisome as obviously Mac is gaining popularity.

    What is the reason viruses and particularly spyware don't appear on mac? When I had a PC it didn't matter what I did I had hundreds of spyware out of nowhere just reading blogs or barely using the internet yet in 3 years of Mac ownership not a single spyware/virus.
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You are mistaken in your claim that there is no discussions about why there are no MacOS X viruses. In virtually every thread about viruses and the lack thereof on the Mac, there is a plethora of posts explaining why this is the case.

    No good purpose is served by creating yet another thread to plow this same old ground. If you did not understand the posts that are already here, then you won't understand the ones to follow on this thread.
  3. mrgraff macrumors 6502a


    Apr 18, 2010
    No kidding. There's no way you could be a member of these forums for nearly 3.5 years and make a claim like that. Every other day someone makes a desperate post about the virus that they think their Mac has and then gets several (often repeated) detailed and technical replies explaining why the likelihood is probably 0%.

    Sometimes I feel like these "Do I have a virus?" or "Can you explain why Macs are more secure from viruses?" posts should just be auto-deleted! Or, every new member should be assigned required reading of those malware links that GGJStudios always provides.
  4. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Careful about your terminology. "Viruses are impossible" is a fallacy. There is no proof that viruses can never happen on OS X, only the observation that so far, none have yet been crafted. And that's only if you stick with a fairly strict definition of virus. There has certainly been malware in the form of trojans, for example. The positive track record is reason to be very confident, but not overconfident.

    As for why, there are numerous reasons put forth, and subsequently debated, but they tend to go like this:

    - OS X's basis on BSD/Unix, which is decades-old, stable and secure;
    - The security model which requires applications to obtain your admin password before given rights to access certain system areas;
    - The relatively low market share of OS X compared to Windows.

    I think the low market share angle holds water. While it's true that there would be "fame and glory" for the first virus writer to successfully breach OS X, I think nowadays viruses are used more for much more "profitable" ventures like sending spam, identity and credit card theft, etc. So in this case there is still an incentive to go after the platform with the greatest chance of success.

    When you consider why OS X has so little malware, be sure to compare it to Unix and Linux, which also have an exceedingly low number of viruses. You'll quickly see that it's not a question of why OS X has so little, it's why Windows has so much!
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Start by reading this: Mac Virus/Malware Info

    Then, read some of the ridiculous number of virus threads. Pay special attention to some of the posts by munkery, who has provided some good technical information in many of the threads.

    Here's a small sampling of the available threads, to get you started:

    I got a virus/trojan...
    Where can i download a virus?
    new to OSX, does Mac need virus protection?
    Apple and virus troubles can be real these days.
    Could Softonic given my Mac a virus?
    Virus on my Macbook - can't click anything - HELP!
    Virus curiosity
    Virus or Spyware on my mac?
    Virus Scan for MAC?
    Anti-Virus for MacPro ...
    Sophos Launches Free Anti-Virus Software for Mac OS X
    Mac google redirecting virus
    Is there a strandard anti virus mac users should have?
    Has anybody ever had a virus on their mac?
    Virus Question
    Why DOESN'T someone make a virus for mac?
  6. nec207, Apr 16, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011

    nec207 macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2011

    There is no viruses or worms for a Mac.

    Has for adware,spyware ,trojen,,browser jacking and the like mlaware non viruses or worms very very low.

    Now idea how many are on the internet but very very low.

    No point having anti-virus on the computer to remove virus or worm that does not exit has for anti-virus program to remove adware , spyware , trojen , , browser jacking and other like malware non viruses or worms not sure.

    Note I know many people who have Mac computer that download and click on every thing and never got malware where by a windows computer less than 2 days would get malware.
  7. nec207 macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2011
    There is no good anti-virus program for Mac OS X or Linux.The companies that make anti-virus programs for windows will not work on these OS and the companies that have a special anti-virus programs are joke that slow down your computer and give you false positive hits.

    There no money yet for a companies to spend millions of dollars on a anti-virus program having hundreds of programmers and malware specialists making anti-virus program for Mac OS X or Linux.

    What you should do is get hardware firewall and software firewall and program like snort.Check the running process ,logs every day .If there is a special new file on the computer or running process use the search command and type in the new file name or running process and delete it.

    Most of the malware are trojans,spyware and adware for pirated software for Mac OS X and some document cases of porn sites where you click on video and get malware.

    In future if malware gets any where close to windows for Mac OS X or Linux than you see companies spending millions of dollars on a anti-virus program and having hundreds of programmers and malware specialists making there anti-virus program for profit.

    The programmers and malware specialists are harder to come by than pc repair specialist and networking IT guys.

    Well these guys have laern alot how OS works ,files on the computer what it does and programming and how malware works.

    May be in the future has more people get Mac OS X and Linux but now no.
  8. cerote macrumors 6502a


    Mar 2, 2009
    I don't think market share has as much play as people think. Take a look at the market share OS9 and below had compared to OSX. OS9 and below had many viruses.
    Not saying market share is not a part of it but just saying that it plays a very small part of it.
  9. munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Hey, don't blame me for Macs not getting viruses. It's not my fault.
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That's not what Apple says! :D

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