Why cant macs get viruses?

angeliscool

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2010
8
0
im having trouble trying to get down to the bottom of this. i cant get a direct reason why. does anyone know? and can you explain it well?
 

Dsync

macrumors member
Jul 26, 2010
90
0
USA
All I can say is that they do slow down over time, but no viruses! There is just so much security built into OSX that viruses just don't have a chance!
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
anything that has CPU, memory and I/O devices can get viruses - the macs arent "targeted" as much, but i assure you, they can get "mac harmful viruses.

often you will find a number of PC virusii on your mac, but they cannot hurt it :D

btw, you should be more worried of cookies these days.
 

Penn Jennings

macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2010
350
48
Michigan
im having trouble trying to get down to the bottom of this. i cant get a direct reason why. does anyone know? and can you explain it well?
Technically speaking, Macs can get viruses. However, it just happens to be much more difficult and there are very few of them (relative to Windows).

Anyone that tells you that they can't knows less than they think.

As a side note, viruses are only one type of Malware and not even the worst. Trojans and Worms are much trouble than viruses. Worms are very rare on Macs. Trojans... well, thats hard to say.
 

angeliscool

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2010
8
0
i totally get what you guys are saying about the other stuff being worse than viruses, but im sticking to viruses right now because im giving a speech persuading people to buy viruses and im not sure how to explain it to them why its alot harder for macs to get viruses.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
i totally get what you guys are saying about the other stuff being worse than viruses, but im sticking to viruses right now because im giving a speech persuading people to buy viruses and im not sure how to explain it to them why its alot harder for macs to get viruses.
to buy viruses :eek:
 

spinnerlys

Guest
Sep 7, 2008
14,328
7
forlod bygningen
Technically speaking, Macs can get viruses. However, it just happens to be much more difficult and there are very few of them (relative to Windows).

Anyone that tells you that they can't knows less than they think.
As I'm one of those "few, who know less", would you please be so kind and point me into the direction of known VIRUSES* for Mac OS X**, or at least the documentation of their existence?

* excluding trojans, spyware and other kinds of malware
** meaning Mac OS X 10.0.0 till Mac OS X 10.6.4, not Mac OS 8 or Mac OS 9

PS: I've been using Mac OS X only since Mac OS X 10.3.6, but have never encountered any viruses, even though I was much less alert and attentive than in my Windows days, which gave me three or four viruses, one got even by the AV software. Trojans are another animal, as I would need to enter my password to install them, thus giving them the consent to run on my computer, which I also never gave.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
^^spinners - i encountered a few virusii back in the day os os9, when i was a whee youngin' and didnt know any better :rolleyes: couldnt give you a name though but i remember dad going ape! :D
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,261
31
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
i totally get what you guys are saying about the other stuff being worse than viruses, but im sticking to viruses right now because im giving a speech persuading people to buy viruses and im not sure how to explain it to them why its alot harder for macs to get viruses.
Well that's a pretty pointless presentation then. It's like telling people that motorcycles are perfectly safe because they never spontaneously combust.

It's not an accurate representation of the malware situation (or the computer security situation) at all.
 

spinnerlys

Guest
Sep 7, 2008
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forlod bygningen
^^spinners - i encountered a few virusii back in the day os os9, when i was a whee youngin' and didnt know any better :rolleyes: couldnt give you a name though but i remember dad going ape! :D
I know there were viruses for Mac OS 8/9, but the member I quoted obviously meant Mac OS X, thus my maybe harsh reaction. But GGJstudios is more eloquent and calmer in those discussions, so if s/he wants to join and provide better examples and more evidence to show that Mac OS X has currently no viruses on public circulation, then it is better for this "discussion".
Maybe Penn Jennings can provide examples and evidence of currently existing viruses for Mac OS X and I will keep my mouth shut in the future, especially as this is more than a weekly discussion, but currently not daily.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
I know there were viruses for Mac OS 8/9, but the member I quoted obviously meant Mac OS X, thus my maybe harsh reaction. But GGJstudios is more eloquent and calmer in those discussions, so if s/he wants to join and provide better examples and more evidence to show that Mac OS X has currently no viruses on public circulation, then it is better for this "discussion".
Maybe Penn Jennings can provide examples and evidence of currently existing viruses for Mac OS X and I will keep my mouth shut in the future, especially as this is more than a weekly discussion, but currently not daily.
well at least it isnt daily - that would be rather annoying. weekly is enough for me :rolleyes:

i cant recall any true OSX viruses. i have had a few .dmg files automaticaly start downloading from a few websites, but i always stopped them before they mounted (go me).

at least OSX prompts you to install software :)

i daresay there would be thousands of applescript viruses around.
 

angeliscool

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2010
8
0
Well that's a pretty pointless presentation then. It's like telling people that motorcycles are perfectly safe because they never spontaneously combust.

It's not an accurate representation of the malware situation (or the computer security situation) at all.
well its for a grade and im not trying to tell them the bad things about a mac. im trying to point out the good things on a mac and one of the good things that everyone at Apple tells me is that its really hard for macs to get viruses. thats one of the points they use when trying to sell a mac.
my whole speech is just pointing out the problem (Pc's) and presenting a solution (macs)
 

/V\acpower

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2007
552
382
I've read an article a couples years ago about it. Not exactly sure to understand all the technicality behind it but the big point was that the way OS X is build, it really isolate process one from another, and in general, its way harder than Windows to "hide" a virus in the system that will survive to a simple "delete some files" solution. So, yeah, you can get a virus, but it can't do that much damage, and also it will be relatively easy to get rid of it.

So, all this mean that it is considerably more improbable for a OS X virus to infect a ton of computer very fast and unnoticed, thus making improbable also that you will catch one from the internet.

There is always a possibility that a particular software will do something you won't want it to do, but OS X make it so that it will never really spread and infect everything else.
 

JoshBoy

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2008
417
241
Sydney, Australia
rather than focus on the virus area of it focus on the "experience", the integration and delivery of mac's in your life, how every aspect being mac's, iphones, ipads, appleTV all just work in harmony together, that when you buy a mac you don't just buy a bit of hardware, you buy the whole package, the whole experience. :cool:
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
786
Macs can get viruses.
Of course they can. Anything is possible.
and there are very few of them
Zero, to be exact, that run on current Mac OS X.
As a side note, viruses are only one type of Malware and not even the worst.
What's better or worse is debatable, but I'll take a trojan (which can be avoided with some common sense on the user's part) over a true virus (which can be contracted even if the user is careful) any day!
Worms are very rare on Macs. Trojans... well, thats hard to say.
Trojans are also relatively rare on Mac OS X, especially compared to Windows. In day-to-day life, the chances of a Mac user getting any malware is very slim, unless they are routinely pirating software or downloading apps/plugins/etc. from porn sites.
im not sure how to explain it to them why its alot harder for macs to get viruses.
There are several factors. The "market share myth" plays a very small role. There are many who claim that Mac OS X, based on UNIX, is generally more secure than Windows in many respects, which also plays a role. Of course, making such statements usually provokes a vigorous, highly-technical debate. Overall, the only thing safe to say is that currently, no true viruses exist in the wild that run on Leopard or Snow Leopard. Of course, that could change tomorrow.
^^spinners - i encountered a few virusii back in the day os os9, when i was a whee youngin' and didnt know any better :rolleyes: couldnt give you a name though but i remember dad going ape! :D
There were a few dozen viruses that ran on OS 9 and earlier versions, but those are history. Patches have been made and none of those pose a threat to any updated system.
...more evidence to show that Mac OS X has currently no viruses on public circulation, then it is better for this "discussion".
If you MRoogle search the forum, you'll find several threads where this has been discussed ad nauseam, including links to external sources. The bottom line is this: There has never been a virus in the wild that affects Leopard or Snow Leopard. If you have proof to refute that statement, all you need to do is post the name and description of the virus, as stated from a publicly acknowledged source (your second-cousin's neighbor's gardener's personal blog doesn't count)
im trying to point out the good things on a mac and one of the good things that everyone at Apple tells me is that its really hard for macs to get viruses.
Well, it IS really hard for any computer to be affected by something that doesn't exist!
well its for a grade and im not trying to tell them the bad things about a mac. im trying to point out the good things on a mac
There are much more compelling reasons to buy a Mac than simply the absence of malware.
 

regieferg

macrumors newbie
Jul 21, 2010
22
0
the way i think of it is that "viruses = hacking or hackers"
and many of the computers out there are windows so they want to hack windows more.

so for now macs are fine and mostly safe from hackers.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,148
1,114
Pennsylvania
im having trouble trying to get down to the bottom of this. i cant get a direct reason why. does anyone know? and can you explain it well?
Mac's cannot get virus' because virus' are very hard to get anymore. Most modern OS's are virus proof - the fact that OS X has such a small market share means that there's no reason to write a virus for OS X... especially when Trojans and wormes work just as well, and are 10x easier to write.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
786
Mac's cannot get virus' because virus' are very hard to get anymore.
Macs are not immune to viruses. It is possible to write a virus that infects Mac OS X. There just aren't any in existence at this time.
Most modern OS's are virus proof
Not true at all. Every modern OS is susceptible to a virus written for that OS. There are currently Windows viruses that can and do infect systems that aren't protected by AV software.
the fact that OS X has such a small market share means that there's no reason to write a virus for OS X...
As has been stated dozens of times in this forum and hundreds of times on the internet, earlier versions of Mac OS (9 and earlier) had much smaller market share and yet had viruses in the wild that affected them. Currently, Mac OS X has a much larger market share, and yet, the number of viruses that affect current Mac OS X has been reduced to zero. Smaller market share = few viruses. Larger market share = zero viruses. That pretty much debunks the "market share myth".
especially when Trojans and wormes work just as well, and are 10x easier to write.
Trojans and worms depend on the user to actively install them. Viruses don't. That's a significant difference.
 

angeliscool

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 8, 2010
8
0
There are much more compelling reasons to buy a Mac than simply the absence of malware.
very true, this is only one of the reasons i have in my speech, but it has to be 10 minutes long so i need alot of reasons or i need to thoroughly explain the few reasons
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
very true, this is only one of the reasons i have in my speech, but it has to be 10 minutes long so i need alot of reasons or i need to thoroughly explain the few reasons
why not go through the 11 types of intrusive software and explain what OSX is most suceptible (sp) to?
 
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