Why aren't there more Leopard Viruses?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by DoNoHarm, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #1
    OK, yeah, this is a newbie question, but why is it that leopard doesn't get viruses? I've always heard that it's just because Leopard is not used by as many people as windows and virus designers have a larger incentive to go after windows. Does Leopard ever get viruses? Will there be a tipping point where we all of a sudden get a massive wave of Mac viruses?

    Should I install an anti virus program on my gorgeous, beautiful new MBP Classic?:D
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    the os has a lot stronger foundation than windows

    that is the main reason. the fact that its not used by many people is also a factor but its more the os design

    the only reason you want virus protection is so you dont pass infected files to people with pc's
     
  3. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #3
    The smaller number of users is an oft-used argument, but if you look at the number of functioning viruses for Windows vs OS X (ie. lots vs virtually none), it just doesn't add up.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    Why do termites eat wood frame houses and never concrete parking structures? I've heard it is because there simply are more wood houses and it's not worth the termite's time to hunt down the parking structures when the houses are "everywhere".

    But maybe it just might have something to do with the materials used and how parking structures are bulit? Same with Windows and Mac OS X. It has to do with how each is built.

    The real reason is that Unix was designed from the ground up back in the late 1960's back when computers had to be shared by many users. The OS was DESIGNED with the idea that there would be other ppeople using the machine at the same time. So Security was an issue from the beginning.

    Windows was from the start a one owner per computer system and in it's beginning computers, or at least desktop computers where never networked. The Internet had not yet reach into people's houses. So security was a "none issue". So it start with zero protection from anything. And add to that Microsoft's primary business model called "lock in". Lock in requires strong backwards compatibility. Being backwards compatible to a zero-protection OS kind of invites viruses now that computers are all connected.
     
  5. walnuts macrumors 6502

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    #5
    You know, I hate to be the naysayer here but:

    • Wasn't the macbook air the first machine to be hacked at the magic hat security conference?
    • Hasn't there been several articles that show that when comparing the number of exposed security vulnerabilities, mac os x no longer has significant advantage over windows (particularly to vista) and has had poorer response time to disclosed security holes?

    I'd love to think that Mac is more secure, but there is no evidence to the contrary. I have Intego virusbarier X5 installed on both my macs just in case.
     
  6. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #6
    I agree with your points walnuts, but the OP was asking about viruses, not vulnerabilities/exploits.
     
  7. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #7
    i dont know about the first point, but the second? comeon lol have you ever heard of viruses for osx? ok how about vista...there you go
     
  8. kkat69 macrumors 68020

    kkat69

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    #8
    To address your first point, hacked is not the same as virus. Not even in the same ballpark, not even the same sport.
    To address your second point... See first point address.

    Anyone with some common computer sense would know that hacking into a computer is a lot different than virus. Yah, hacking INTO the machine then planting a virus but again, those are 2 different things still.
     
  9. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    #9
    Many people and companies (including Microsoft and Symantec) are trying to write viruses for the Mac, no one has yet to succeed. Microsoft want to tarnish Apples holier than thou image, and Symantec want to sell copies of Mac Norton.

    And who wouldn't want the honour of being the first man to write a virus for OS X.

    This has nothing to do with marketshare.
     
  10. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #10
    You have evidence of this, obviously.
     
  11. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #11
    That's what they want you to think.
     
  12. walnuts macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Forgive my ignorance, and hopefully understanding this distinction will help me better secure my mac (or save me money on antivirus software), but what is the difference and how does it matter?

    From what I understand, a virus is malicious code that can transport and replicate itself. Also, from what I understand, a hack something that allows the hacker to force a computer to do something without the user's (or os's) consent.

    So, doesn't a virus need a hack (either executed by the virus or allowing the virus to be installed the first time)? Hacks, from my post above, seem not substantially more difficult on Macs than pcs.

    Is what your saying that mac os x makes it difficult to write malicious code (I doubt it, you could use automator to do things like delete files), or self-replicating/transporting code? Seems like a silly distinction to me- and if mac os x earns its more secure foundation simply from making it difficult to write self-replicating/transporting code, then macs can't do much more than prompt if you want to run software downloaded from the internet to protect against trojans.

    It seems to me that the "hack" is where the weakness lies, and as I mentioned in my first post, mac os x isn't that much better at defending against hacks.
     
  13. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #13
    This would tarnish Microsoft or Symantec's reputation far more than Apple; they could even be prosecuted for it. No reputable company is going to do something like this - the legal implications are enormous.
     
  14. Tex-Twil macrumors 68020

    Tex-Twil

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    #14
    Your second reason is THE reason. It has nothing to do with the overall Operation System vulnerabilities or whatever.

    The reason why there are viruses only on Windows is that 95% of computers are running Windows so, when you are making a virus, you actually have 95% more chances to find a victim.

    So don't talk about "stronger foundation than windows".

    cheers,
     
  15. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #15
    In some ways, both, but moreso the latter.

    Of course it's possible to write malicious code on a Mac. However, you need to get the user convinced that they need to run the program. That's where security of any system, no matter how theoretically secure, will break down. If you can convince the guy with the key to a nuclear missile that he needs to launch his missile, then the lock, no matter how complex, has been defeated.

    On the other hand, It's immensely harder to write a program for a Mac that will replicate and cause damage all on its own, without the user granting permission or approval.

    This is why you don't need virus scanners on your Mac. Even so, you do need to be vigilant and careful about what you download and use. with any system, no matter how secure, you need to trust the source of the software, know exactly what it does, and know that others haven't been burned by it. And, as is true on any computer, over the phone, or in real life, you need to be careful with who or what has your personal information.


    Far from. There's a HUGE difference between having to be duped into running malware, and having your computer seriously compromised AND compromising other machines by the mere act of being on and connected to a network.

    Then don't use it. In fact, don't use any modern computer. Unplug, and you'll be 100% safe. Or actually, you won't, because anyone entrusted with your personal data can also be compromised.

    Again, no computer in the world can guard against an authorized person at the keyboard making an error in judgment or being misled. OS X does more than the competition to help mitigate that though.
     
  16. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #16
    Mac4Obama, this is probably a silly question but, are you going to change your screen name once the election is over?
     
  17. grooveattack macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    i think viruses for OS X is a VERY gray area. No one can make their minds up about it.
    Yes the air was hacked but that because the user agreed to some website etc.
    more windows than mac is agreed but then you can say 'well if its there to attack it will get attacked'

    its a very messy area, i will sick to my guns until something comes out of the wood work. no virus for mac.
     
  18. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #18
    I think the reason why Mac OS X has no viruses is because it was reworked from the ground up. Earlier versions of the OS (mainly 8 and 9) had plenty of viruses. Version 10 was created for the internet era.
     
  19. kolax macrumors G3

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    #19
    It has been a myth for a long time that most of the viruses out there are written by Symantec. It is a great business model - there's a new virus that does lots of damage. Buy our product at a subscription and you'll be fine.

    It wouldn't surprise me if they are targeting Macs too.
     
  20. vansouza macrumors 68000

    vansouza

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    #20
    I think it is one thing to write a virus and quite another thing to lay the seed on soil and not in the rocks. UNIX does a great job of keeping the "soil" hidden and safe. Not to say that there are not gates in the garden that lead to all that soil; but they have great locks and you have to unlock them yourself.

    So not impossible but hellishly difficult to the point of just this side of impossible.
     
  21. Muncher macrumors 65816

    Muncher

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    #21
    Yes, it has been shown that there are comparable amounts of vulnerability between OS X and Vista, and that Apple takes longer to patch them.

    No, there are many vulnerabilities in OS X. Windows gets more viruses due to market share.

    That wasn't the point of what he said.
     
  22. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #22
    right. the fact that unix is a better platform than windows doesnt matter at all.:rolleyes:

    dont you think that you could name ONE virus for linux/osx for that 5%? besides trojan horses which the user MUST authenticate lol

    dont you think there are people who want that distiction of making a mac virus? heck there have been trojan horses but no viruses....hmmm i wonder

    sorry, its not mainly the marketshare, although that does play a part
     
  23. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #23
    I have no opinions about the ethics of a company like Symantec at all, but if there was any evidence that they were in any way responsible for any virus, the result would be the mother of all class action lawsuits. Every ambulance chasing lawyer in the USA would try to get their share of Symantec's money. And do you think there is any chance to keep something like that secret?
     
  24. QUiKSR20 macrumors member

    QUiKSR20

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    #24
    OSX is a great UNIX based operating system and i love using it.

    But OSX is a less secure OS then Windows XP & Vista this has been proven. People were able in contests to hack OSX much faster.

    Windows has more issues due to popularity and market share its just the facts.. Do I like OSX better yes, Is XP and VISTA in-secure OS's no way. Microsoft resolves issues alot faster than Apple.

    I dont consider myself biased as im a MAC & Windows user for many years and work in the IT field.
     
  25. stuarthatto macrumors regular

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    Nov 5, 2008
    #25
    Sorry thats hogwash. It was not OSX that was 'hacked' it was a vulnerability in Safari that was exposed, just like the MANY MANY vulnerabilities there are in all variants of IE on every Windows platform.

    http://dvlabs.tippingpoint.com/blog...e-have-our-first-official-winner-with-picture

    Apple patched this just days later, but to reiterate it was not an OSX vulnerability.

    The following day a Vista laptop was also compromised (perhaps thats not convenient for your argument), however it was not Vista that was hacked it was a vulnerability in Adobe Flash that was exposed.

    http://dvlabs.tippingpoint.com/blog/2008/03/28/pwn-to-own-final-day-and-wrap-up

    Perhaps we could get back to the OP thread?
     

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