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Macs May No Longer Be Immune to Viruses

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the harsh-reality dept.

391

Bill writes "MSNBC reports that the combination of Apple's growing market share and their recent switch to x86 processors has made Mac OS X a new target for viruses. Unfortunately, it seems that many Mac users are in denial. '[Computer security expert Tom] Ferris said he warned Apple of the vulnerabilities in January and February and that the company has yet to patch the holes, prompting him to compare the Cupertino-based computer maker to Microsoft three years ago, when the world's largest software company was criticized for being slow to respond to weaknesses in its products.'"

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391 comments

Heh. (5, Interesting)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235652)

One might wonder why this (non-)story is featured on the front page of MSNBC... ;-)

MSNBC is a MicroSoft shill (0)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235771)

MSNBC is a Microsoft shill. They're also the ones that started the completely lie that Linux would be just as plagued by viruses as Windows is, if it ever became as widely used. This has no foundation in reality, and belies the fact that Windows is constantly adding unix-like security features, just to try to catch up.

Re:Heh. (5, Informative)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235786)

It's just sad really. This Tom guy can't read crash reports. He reports the same TIFF crash as two different crashes, and then says there is a parsing error in CFAllocatorAllocate(), which does parse anything, it just allocates memory. In CF, most functions will call abort() and force an application crash if given bad parameters. Such as a 0 size for memory.

Most, if not all, of these just amount to DoS attacks and it's not actually possible to get them to run arbitrary executable code. But now days any kind of reproducible crash is incorrectly regarded as a massively massive security issue. It's people like Tom Ferris that make real computer security jobs into a joke.

Re:Heh. (3, Funny)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235831)

LMAO, yeah.. last time I checked, the bug was in this code of MS Management cycle..:P

while (generating_crappy_systems())
{

char* company = pick_yet_another_company();
int percentrisk = assess_risk_from(company);
int percentgrowthrate = assess_growth_of(company);
if (percentrisk > 10 || percentgrowthrate > 10) launch_FUD_against(company);
continue; // with generating_crappy_systems();
}

Gosh, it does sounds like MS. (0, Troll)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235653)

Ouch. The description from secuania [secunia.com] do sound like MS fumbles (mostly vulnerabilities in the way Safari handles multimedia files).

However, what sounds most MS-like was this:
Apple plans to patch the holes reported by Ferris in the next automatic update of Mac OS X, and there have been no reports of them being exploited, spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said. She disagreed that the vulnerabilities make it possible for a criminal to run code on a targeted machine.
Thanks Natalie, we'll take your word on it.

Re:Gosh, it does sounds like MS. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235708)

The advisory is from 9 days ago. It is from a company that would like to sell you stuff related to its advisories. No known instance of the alleged flaws exist publicaly. The descriptions of the flaws do not support the conclusion of either a DOS attack being possible or compromising of one's system. As such, I invite you to use this flaw to do anything to my Mac.

Or, even present me with a URL where I can observe the alleged flaws in the wild.

Your handle, Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289), should be a tip-off that you are not posting about this matter in good faith.

Re:Gosh, it does sounds like MS. (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235815)

As such, I invite you to use this flaw to do anything to my Mac.

Errr, you'll actually have to provide me with an IP address to do that.

Furthermore, your handle, (Anonymous coward), should be a tip-off that you are not posting about this matter in good faith.

Apple == MS (0, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235739)

The only difference between Apple and MS/Bill Gates and Steve Jobs is cash. If history had run differently and it had been Apple that gotten to be the giant then there really wouldn't be that much change.

The only saving grace for Apple/Steve Jobs is that even if he (if given the chance) would do exactly the same as MS/Bill Gates is that he can't and just by being there puts a tiny brake on the MS Juggernaut.

But make no mistake. If positions were reversed in terms of sales then MS would be just as an important a brake. Perhaps even more important.

Think about this. How many of you believe that is the media part of Sony that has been crippling the company by insisting on DRM that hardware consumers don't want?

Right, so now exactly how do you think Steve "Disney" Jobs would be on the subject of DRM if he had MS like control off the desktop.

A lot of people argue that iTunes limited DRM was the maximum he could get away with in his negotiotations with the record labels. This is true. The records labels are insane and would have chosen DRM that would be unaccaptable to the consumer.

Steve Jobs isn't insane but I am convinced that the Limited DRM for iTunes is also what he thinks is the maximum he could get away with.

Put more simply, I don't he was trying to get the least drm. I think he was trying to get the maximum DRM he could get consumers to swallow and then convince the record labels (who wanted even more) that it was this or nothing.

If you look at other parts of Apples business practices you really don't get the idea they are the mythical good guy. There support sucks, their warrenties got more loopholes then US wiretapping laws and they are as sue happy as the RIAA.

Just that Apple is for now to small to really make an impact. Doesn't mean that they don't want too.

So I am not at all suprised that Apple sounds exactly the same when it comes to dealing with flaws in their products wich leave their customers vulnerable.

Business as usual. Everybody does it. Only opensource can afford to say "oops, yeah that is a HUGE risk we are going to patch it right now so every single one of our users needs to get of their ass now".

Opensource does indeed patch much faster BUT it is a lot more work and worry for the user.

What sells better. You car manufacturer pulling you over with flashing lights to impound your car to have your brakes fixed OR having it quietly fixed when you next bring it in for service. WRONG. Don't fix it all, just settle with the dozen or so families of the person killed in the crash. That is good business.

Re:Gosh, it does sounds like MS. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235750)

I'd take an Apple spokeswoman's word over Tom Ferris's word. He's fairly good at finding crash bugs, but he frequently reports zero dereferences as "buffer overflows", etc. See his record in bugzilla.mozilla.org, for example, starting with bug 303433. I have no idea why the media keeps calling him a security expert.

Re:Gosh, it does sounds like MS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235789)

With all of these "ZOMG Mac Viruses!" articles crying wolf, I wouldn't be suprised if a real, exploitable virus did come along and no one actually bothered to update their system.

Re:Gosh, it does sounds like MS. (1)

muhgcee (188154) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235892)

However, what sounds most MS-like was this: ...

She disagreed that the vulnerabilities make it possible for a criminal to run code on a targeted machine.


Have you ever read the short description of a MS security patch? They quite frequently contain language similar to "A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to remotely compromise a computer running Microsoft® Windows® and gain complete control over it. [microsoft.com]"

Immune? (4, Insightful)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235654)

They never were immune. It's just that most virus writers don't give a crap about Macs.

Re:Immune? (5, Interesting)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235666)

It's just that most virus writers don't give a crap about Macs.

And the fact that Macs never had Outlook, the PC version of Internet Explorer, Active X, ports and services open all over the place, or piss poor priveledge seperation. That is why Macs don't have viruses (Linux as well, for that matter), not because of market share.

Re:Immune? (5, Insightful)

stefaanh (189270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235705)

Otherwise said:
Burglars break in houses with the most vulnerable alarm system, not because of the popularity of the alarm system.

Re:Immune? (2, Insightful)

Gobelet (892738) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235765)

But that is the modern propagation of viruses. How did people infect computers before that? By infecting medias. Dammit, you don't need a security flaw to embed viral code in a software that you have to install with root.

But...but..but.. (-1, Troll)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235655)

Steve told me it was safe. There's no way dumb little Windows users could hack this beautiful, expensive machine of mine.
I even bought the extended warranty!

Please, Steve, help us. You're our only hope.

Re:But...but..but.. (-1, Offtopic)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235680)

A bit further down in the same chapter you get this:
you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly. I hate holy books, so many contradictions.

Re:But...but..but.. (2, Informative)

kneeslasher (878676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235740)

This is completely off-topic so will doubtless be modded as such. You will actually find that the lines: "And magnify Mohammed and his followers as thou didst magnify Abraham and his followers..." "And bless Mohammed and his followers as thou didst bless Abraham and his followers..." are recited (at least) thirteen times _per day_ in the compulsory Muslim five daily prayers. Now what use would these lines be if you didn't know whom Abraham or his followers were? The key is context, in order to find out what those lines are teaching, you have to go and do a little bit of historical homework on Abraham and why he was such a good pal of God's, to the extent that people living thousands of years after Abraham are still being taught to behave like him and his congregation. Similarly, for the verses mentioned above, context is needed otherwise the lines can easily appear to be contradictory. The verse about not taking Jews and Christians as friends is very often misused by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But the actual historical reference (remember, that histroy homework again is needed), actually refers to when the northern Arabian tribes were becoming politically unified through their common adherence to Islam. Just as the Vatican or Israel would hardly trust its affairs to, eg, Iran or Saudi Arabia, and not necessarily because of antagonism but merely due to sensible political considerations, the same was true at the time for the fledgling Arab-Muslim state. Political Islam, or indeed Christianity or Judaism, is somewhat divorced from how you should treat your neighbour: it is how one nation should treat another. The verse about taking Christians as friends is the non-political way in which Man should deal with his brethren in the world, holding up the pious Christians of the time as an example to be followed. One can therefore easily ascertain how consistency is not lacking between the two verses, merely that people do not do their homework.

Re:But...but..but.. (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235695)

Don't worry there isn't a virus. The article says there will be one because apple switched to intel. That makes sense right?

BTW. RE your sig. I think it's amusing to quote from religious texts. My favorite is where the bible says to kill adulterers, homosexuals, people who have sex with their daughter in laws (and their daughter in law), all three people in a manage a trois if the manage trois involves a daughter and a mother, and of course all parties in any kind of beastality.

That last one kind of makes me mad though. I mean if you want to off some homosexuals fine but why punish the poor animal just because some pervert molested it?
 

Re:But...but..but.. (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235736)

...all three people in a manage a trois if the manage trois involves a daughter and a mother...
So that's Republicans digg foursomes.

Re:But...but..but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235746)

Were exactly did you read this in the bible? In no place does it say kill this or that.

So when they continued asking him he lifted up himself and said unto them He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her -John 8:7

The bible is quite tolorent of sinners, while at the same time it is quite clear on what is defined as a sin. I understand your POV when targetted at religeous zealots, but the book itself very tolorable of sinners...

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. -Matthew 7:1

That one was for the hypocrits. Picking on other's sins while they resemble a grave. Clean on the outside, but rotten and smelly on the inside...

Re:But...but..but.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235864)

"manage a trois"

Uhh... That's when three people try to run a company...

If you use such terms, at least get the spelling right.

Consolation Prize (-1, Offtopic)

foundme (897346) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235657)

Maybe the only consolation is we won't get as many Zombies from Mac as from MS.

Switch to Intel (5, Interesting)

pryonic (938155) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235658)

I can see how the increased market share would make them more of a target, but I can't really imagine how the change in CPU would. The vast majority of x86 viruses target Windows using very specific windows API functions or by patching Windows components. If a writer is targetting a x86 Mac, how does the CPU matter, it would just be compiled for that processor.

Maybe we'll be seeing x86 and PPC virus fat binaries?

Re:Switch to Intel (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235667)

The nastiest viruses are written in assembly language, and there are a heck of a lot more coders familiar with the x86 line.

Re:Switch to Intel (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235694)

I can see how the increased market share would make them more of a target,

The ability to run Mac OS X in virtual machine lowers the barriers to entry to test exploit code from $2000 to (effectively if you allready own a PC) $0.

The intel transition makes it cheaper & easier for crackers, phishers, etc to develop for OS X. (As well as making assembly easier to port).

Its about making it easier to port exploits rather then having fat binary viruses.

Re:Switch to Intel (2, Informative)

bigalsenior (869954) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235696)

If a writer is targetting a x86 Mac, how does the CPU matter

the x86 acrhitecture has one major security weekness that will never go away.on an ax86 machine it is easy to perform a buffer overflow.this was fixed in windows with eXecute disable in windows and is avalable on all x86-64 machines.it is also i belive in linux aswell but as far as i know osx does not have this feature and is still vulnerable to buffer overflows.

security at apple is like microsoft 3 years ago in the sense that they are still burying there haed in the sand.in the last 3 years microsoft has coome a long way in security eventhough there still not at the high standard that some people desire its alot better than 3 years ago

Re:Switch to Intel (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235734)

security at apple is like microsoft 3 years ago in the sense that they are still burying there haed in the sand.in the last 3 years microsoft has coome a long way in security eventhough there still not at the high standard that some people desire its alot better than 3 years ago


How does everybody figure this? As a results-oriented person, I have to say Apple's track record is better than Microsoft's at the moment.

Re:Switch to Intel (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235930)

The last security update I applied to my Mac had more than one arbitrary code execution vulnerability in Safari. I don't think this places them very far ahead of Microsoft.

Re:Switch to Intel (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235795)

It isn't easier to do buffer overflows on x86 processors than it is on others, except for the fact that until recently it was difficult to disable execution on the stack. However most systems haven't done that until recently anyhow, because there has been software that needs to allow execution on the stack (so called "trampolines" are sometimes useful).

Your comparison of Apple with Microsoft 3 years ago lacks any kind of substance; please provide examples if you wish to be taken seriously. Apple has been doing security updates for OS X since it was released, and they never had Microsoft's earlier issues with enabling all sorts of dangerous remote services by default. The closest to such a problem was the problem where a spoofed local DHCP server could be used at boot-time to gain access, but that still required access to the LAN the computer was on.

I would trust neither system to prevent local privilege escalation (i.e. trojans can and will be a problem for some time to come).

I'd say Apple and Microsoft are currently close to the same level of security in terms of potential for exploitation, but MSWin is still targeted considerably more.

Re:Switch to Intel (2, Insightful)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235805)

This is nonsense. x86 is in no way more sensitive to buffer overflow bugs than other popular architectures. It is probably possible to implement hardware acceleration of guard pages and some form of privilige separation, making such protection mechanisms slightly faster, but I know of no hardware that does so, so this is in no way x86-specific. Also, on a 64-bit platform, you have more address space, meaning that if you randomize the memory space layout on each invocation, an attacker will have a pretty hard time figuring out what to do with an overflow error, but again this is not x86-specific. I think you're thinking about the C computer language, which is designed with fixed-sized memory buffers in mind, making it much more work to avoid buffer overflows in C than in e.g. Java or C#.

Re:Switch to Intel (5, Interesting)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235801)

I can see how the increased market share would make them more of a target, but I can't really imagine how the change in CPU would

The Harvard architecture that the PowerPC uses is inherently more secure than x86. A remote exploit on running code has a very low chance of working on the PPC, but nearly a 100% chance on the x86 (which is why all these IE exploits work all the time). When they fail to execute code, the PPC application just crashes. I'd think if someone went to a place that causes their browser to crash 10 times in a row, they'd stop trying to go there.

Then again, Apple has taken massive steps on the x86 side to prevent these kinds of attacks. Such as enforcing the NX/XD bit and enforcing a non-executable stack. The former goes a long way, it was even able to prevent the WMF exploit from working on Windows, if it was available in hardware. Luckily, all ICBMs ship with the hardware support.

Re:Switch to Intel (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235814)

Of course, beyond the code-level measures that Rosyna mentions, there is also the fact that the Mac, as shipped, is vending NOTHING. Rather hard to get the runaway propagation typical of a windows virus outbreak, when each user has to explicitly open each port.

-jcr

Re:Switch to Intel (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235820)

I can see how the increased market share would make them more of a target, but I can't really imagine how the change in CPU would.

Let me tell you how: most hackers and virus writers just don't buy Macs. Many of them have machines enough to run games and their favorite Linux distribution and many of them don't have the money to pay for shiny overpriced (in their view) boxes with eye candy OS...

What happens now, however? OSX runs on Intel, it was leaked on the Internet, the naturally curious hakcers install it and hack around. And start writing Mac viruses right from their PC boxes.

It's a pretty trivial fact, one would say "yea sure as if they couldn't buy a Mac before", yea maybe they could but they didn't, fact of life. Now they just don't have to.

Re:Switch to Intel (0, Troll)

Illserve (56215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235860)

You are right that the Intel CPU won't itself make the mac more vulnerable, however the XP partition on a dual booting system might.

Assuming these two OS's just sit on different partitions of the same hard drive, any executable that compromises the XP half of the drive now has control over the entire computer, including the ability to install whatever it wants into the OS X side without requiring the user to enter their OS X root password. It wouldn't take that much ingenuity to design a virus that slips in through the XP door and delivers an OS X payload. It may have to mount the Mac file system, but that's hardly rocket science.

Re:Switch to Intel (1)

Pompatus (642396) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235865)

The vast majority of x86 viruses target Windows using very specific windows API functions or by patching Windows components.

That's true of the viruses today. But it might not be far off where a virus attacks a particular chipset. I remember when I first heard of DRM in bios in the future being able to access the internet, I thought of the possibility of a virus attacking the bios. Guess we'll need norton antivirus 2007 for Phoenix.

Re:Switch to Intel (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235910)

Doesn't the trend in virus-writing go in the opposite direction? I have the impression viruses used to be really difficult to write, having just a small amount of space to store their code. Now it's a huge binary, or some visual basic script.

Re:Switch to Intel (1)

Pompatus (642396) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235932)

Doesn't the trend in virus-writing go in the opposite direction? I have the impression viruses used to be really difficult to write, having just a small amount of space to store their code. Now it's a huge binary, or some visual basic script.

The trend in viruses is to exploit the latest weakness. It might be difficult to do (programming assembly sucks), but I think it's theoretically possible

Re:Switch to Intel (3, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235902)

Well-written viruses (which, yes, the vast majority aren't) are usually done in hand-coded assembler. For many buffer overflows, that's all you have space for. Sure, you need to know the API as well, but I think that's easier to learn than another assembly language.

Article is a troll (4, Informative)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235659)

What a load of rubbish - viruses infect via operating system and application vulnerabilities, the chipset those are running on has very little relevance.

Re:Article is a troll (2, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235672)

What a load of rubbish - viruses infect via operating system and application vulnerabilities, the chipset those are running on has very little relevance.

I don't think you've thought this through.

1) Consider how long it took for the hacking community to make OS X to run in a virtual machine on an Intel Box.

2) Now consider how long it took for the hacking community to make windows run on a macbook.

Which one of these tasks was harder (I would say the first, as Apple was actively hindering this activity, but 'not precluding' the second).

In spite of this (and inspite of the second task having a $13000 prize), the first hack was done in a much (much) faster time. Why do you think this is? The answer of course is barrier to entry. The $2000 barrier to entry you used to have to pay to use OS X (and test exploits against it) no longer exists, if you don't think that makes a difference to hackers (many of whom are in far less afluent countries then you), then quite frankly, you're insane.

Re:Article is a troll (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235745)

The $2000 barrier to entry you used to have to pay to use OS X (and test exploits against it) no longer exists, if you don't think that makes a difference to hackers (many of whom are in far less afluent countries then you), then quite frankly, you're insane.


I suppose you haven't actually checked the Apple Store the last few years. The barrier of entry has been around $500-600 the last few years. Unless haxors absolutely need l33t 15" Powerbooks instead of a mac mini.

And on that point, wouldn't some haxors love to also be one of the few to make a sucessful virus/trojan/etc OS X or Linux (where's the barrier of entry here?) instead of one of the few thousand for Windows? I thought prestige was some sort of motivation. Pff.

Re:Article is a troll (2, Insightful)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235778)

I totally agree, now to te rest of you: Since the trojan writer / spammer alliance, writing viruses has become a business worth millions of dollars. If you still think that a virus writer won't buy a couple of powerbooks, if he thinks he can make a profit, you're dead wrong.

Re:Article is a troll (2, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235810)

I suppose you haven't actually checked the Apple Store the last few years. The barrier of entry has been around $500-600 the last few years. Unless haxors absolutely need l33t 15" Powerbooks instead of a mac mini.

Good point - you're quite right. But, while virus writing has become a multi-million dollar industry recently, many of the people writing exploits are not the ones directly making money off them.

To these people, lowering the barrier to entry from $500 to $0 will make a tremendous difference.

And on that point, wouldn't some haxors love to also be one of the few to make a sucessful virus/trojan/etc OS X or Linux (where's the barrier of entry here?) instead of one of the few thousand for Windows? I thought prestige was some sort of motivation. Pff.

Its good that you mention linux - A few years ago, linux users were complacent [theregister.co.uk] the way mac users are now. A few worms, a few defacements, a few embarressed, burnt users & now the linux community is more proactive about threats. That has yet to happen in OS X land.

And yes, prestige as you say is going to be a big motivator to uncover OS X holes.

Re:Article is a troll (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235906)

"... users were complacent [theregister.co.uk] the way mac users are now..."

Mac users are not complacent. Never have been.

Choosing to use a Mac is a conscious decision. One of the main reasons people use Macs is because the trojan/virus threat is significantly lower.

All Mac users know the threat exists. We are aware and alert. However, there are currently 0 (zero) virusses in the wild for Mac OS X. Reports such as TFA are generally FUD spread by people that want to sell you their solution to the problem that isn't there yet. What surprises and annoys me is that sites such as this and TheRegister propagate this without doing some research to find out if there is an actual threat or not.

If Macs become more popular, the threat will increase, and maybe someday there will actually be some virusses out there. At that time, we'll buy the appropriate protection product. Until such time, having a virus scanner on your Mac that has no virusses to scan is a bit silly, except as a service to Windows users.

Re:Article is a troll (1)

n8_f (85799) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235919)

I don't think you've thought this through.

1) Consider how long it took for the hacking community to make OS X to run in a virtual machine on an Intel Box.

2) Now consider how long it took for the hacking community to make windows run on a macbook.

Which one of these tasks was harder (I would say the first, as Apple was actively hindering this activity, but 'not precluding' the second).

People in glass houses....

Which one of these tasks is harder:

1) For the hacking community to make OS X to run in a virtual machine on an Intel Box.

2) For the hacking community to send a Mac Book Pro to the moon.

I would say the first, as Apple was actively hindering this activity, but 'not precluding' the second.

Unfortunately, as you can see, your logic only works if Apple's actively hindering an activity is the only difference between two activities. As it is not, you have set up a false equivalency and your logic is flawed. Bringing us full circle to:

I don't think you've thought this through.

Re:Article is a troll (3, Informative)

AC-x (735297) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235812)

Well I wouldn't say it was a complete troll.

After all, if you've been writing windows exploits for x number of years in x86 assembly, which will be easier:

a) Writing OSX exploits in x86 assembly
b) Writing OSX exploits in PPC assembly

Of course I'd still be surprised if OSX had anywhere near as many security flaws as Windows, but it only takes one...

Re:Article is a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235875)

After all, if you've been writing windows exploits for x number of years in x86 assembly, which will be easier:

c) Minding your job, and ignoring the virus writing VB kids. Real virus programmers grew up long ago.

Re:Article is a troll (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235830)

What a load of rubbish - viruses infect via operating system and application vulnerabilities, the chipset those are running on has very little relevance.

It helps of 99% of the hackers out there run on a compatible chipset though.

Leap of Faith (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235660)

I'm not even a Mac user and I still call FUD on this one. TFA was so slim on detail it was impossible to work out what had actually happened, and after searching for real info it turns out the virus, Leap.A, needs a root password to do any damage. Better article here: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/TECH/04/30/apple.secur ity.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

Re:Leap of Faith (2, Informative)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235803)

Just wait.

Something will rip through OSX. It may not harm much, but the news to a lot of users is that it could happen at all.

The real shocker will be when most Linux users get some nasty virus. It won't have to damage much.

Simply put, viruses happen. That's life. Don't protect yourself, it's like sex without a condom. It's not that its usually unsafe, it's just that the one time it gets you, you end up with some terrible disease (and, if any future girlfriends read this, I'd just like to note that this hasn't happened to me).

At any rate. Saying that you're immune to viruses because you run OSX or Linux is fanboyism. You're immune because the OS is obscure, not because it's super-impossible for a virus to attack it. Linux may be better on this front (one can't really say it has a better track record, because it has a smaller user base. If you want to hear about damage done in *ix, ask someone about sendmail or NFS exploits, or httpd, or telnet, or xdmcp.)

I used to fix problems with files on my old company's fileserver (with permissions that I didn't have) through NFS via Linux.

Re:Leap of Faith (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235884)

Just wait.
Something will rip through OSX.

Something may well do so one day. This wasn't it though. This article was nothing more than hype about a three month old worm that failed to infect more than a few machines and doing little damage once it did. The worm used as an example had nothing to do with the architecture change purported to be trhe reason for the exploit. The whole thing was a puff-piece of self promotion by Tom Ferris, nothing more.

If you want to hear about damage done in *ix, ask someone about sendmail or NFS exploits, or httpd, or telnet, or xdmcp.)

I'm old enough to remember them. I'll start to be concerned about my Linux installs when there's an actual exploit that's happened less than a decade ago.

Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (0, Flamebait)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235661)

Nor even markedly more resistant.

They have just been less targeted.

I cannot see the change to x86 having a significant impact on this situation. An increase in popularity, however, certainly will.

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (5, Insightful)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235677)

Nor even markedly more resistant. They have just been less targeted.

Nonsense. Microsoft is the target of viruses and spyware because of Microsofts moronic design decisions and security policies, not because of marketshare.

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235758)

Perhaps they have marketshare because of those moronic design decisions - the tail wagging the dog so to speak, sacrificing safety for superficial ease of use (of course, I abadoned MS when I saw how many anti-malware/spyware/etcetera programs I had to run to keep my "ease of use").

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (5, Insightful)

nathanh (1214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235859)

Nonsense. Microsoft is the target of viruses and spyware because of Microsofts moronic design decisions and security policies, not because of marketshare.

Nonsense. Microsoft is the target of viruses and spyware because of Microsoft's moronic design decisions and security policies AND because of marketshare.

Virus writers are writing viruses to make profit; either by stealing information, creating botnets, or proliferation of unwanted advertising. They make more profit by exploiting more machines, so it's no wonder that the most common OS is also the most targetted.

The fact that it's so trivial to exploit Microsoft software is purely because of the moronic design decisions and security policies, not because of marketshare. But the fact that Microsoft is so frequently the target of virus writers is a function of marketshare as well.

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (4, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235711)

I'm calling bullshit on that. True, Macs haven't been tested with a huge market share like Windows has, but you seem to be using that as proof that Macs have as bad-a security model as Windows. My favourite analogy to this is asking which one is more bulletproof, an apple or a kevlar vest. You'd shoot the apple into smitherines then say "Obviously the kevlar vest would crumble similarly if I shot it therefore neither are bulletproof".

You're right that they have never been "immune" to viruses. I don't expect you to say something stupid like that *nothing* is immune to viruses unless you can successfully hack my hello world program, but macs definitely aren't. That doesn't mean they're as bad as Windows though, so if you say something like "Nor even markedly more resistant" how about you back up that comment...

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (1)

lasindi (770329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235954)

My favourite analogy to this is asking which one is more bulletproof, an apple or a kevlar vest. You'd shoot the apple into smitherines then say "Obviously the kevlar vest would crumble similarly if I shot it therefore neither are bulletproof".

Your choice of fruit for the analogy helps make your point quite nicely.

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (4, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235780)

I call bullshit.

By your logic, because Apple now has a much higer visibility, it is a more likely target for viruses.

This is true, and I'm not going to argue with it. However, your reasoning behind it is faulty. Just because it is now being targeted more, does not mean that we are going to see huge numbers of viruses cropping up for OS X.

Heck, the "virus" described in the article isn't a virus at all. It's a trojan, and a shitty one at that. The guy downloaded an executable from an unknown source, and willingly ran it. "strange commands ran as if the machine was under the control of someone -- or something -- else."

Not only did the guy make a boneheaded move that would effect even the most secure operating system in the world, it was obviously apparent that the file being run was a virus the second he opened it. I don't think this is any cause for concern.

What's more, in order to inflict any serious damage on an OS X machine, you've got to provide the Administrator password. It is impossible to run OS X as root. If a program's trying to screw with your settings and files, you're going to know about it! Likewise, unlike Windows, file permissions are properly implemented (it's Unix after all...).

By your logic, because approximately 70% of the internet's web servers run Apache, we should be seeing tons of apache exploits, hacks, and viruses cropping up. The reason we don't is because Apache is a well-written and secure program, and because administrators are generally not stupid enough to run unmarked executables.

OS X and unix are inherently more secure by design than Windows is. This is a known fact that has been proven by time. I'll go a step further and say that because OS X is only 5 years old, and NT has had 10+ years to mature, that Windows should be more secure than OS X is. We all know this isn't the case. 95% of Windows viruses, trojans, and spyware would not be possible on OS X or unix simply due to the design of the OS.

Likewise, the article points out seven new vulnerabilities that were discovered two months ago that have yet to be patched, and draws the conclusion that "They didn't know how to deal with security", but later admits that the vulnerabilities wouldn't actually allow someone to execute malicious code on your machine, and that they're being rolled up into the next OS X security update. (Coincidentally, I've got to praise apple for their cumulative and bundled security updates. It makes it TONS easier for end users and administrators to install the updates, avoids confusion, and makes it significantly more likely for these people to install the updates to begin with, compared to the many crypticly-titled windows security fixes and the ActiveX horror that is Windows Update)

In short, the entire article is a piece of crap. Sure, OS X isn't perfectly safe, and it's a given that any system is vulnurable to a stupid user. However, it's damn better than anything else out there. Shame on slashdot for posting such a poorly-researched piece like this.

PS. Do not blame MSNBC for the content of the article. The article came through via the Associated Press, and appears on Cnn.com in addition to a plethora of other sites.

Re:Macs have never been "immune" to viruses (2, Interesting)

JulesLt (909417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235866)

Incorrect. OS 9 and prior certainly had viruses, despite a market share comparable to OS X based machines. Not as many as Windows, but enough to cause problems for Mac users. Hell, I remember virus problems on Macs when the only way of distributing a virus was by floppy disk and the operating system was held in a ROM.

OS X is substantially more resistant to virus attack than all prior Mac operating systems, and most default Windows installations.

That doesn't mean it's 'immune'. Equally an increase in popularity will almost certainly raise the threat level - but that doesn't change the fact that the underlying system provides better protection by default. Failing to be 'immune' does not mean 'equally vulnerable'.

The default installation implements much of what corporate Windows admins have to implement to secure a Windows system / will be implemented by default in Vista.

Obviously there are other Unix systems that are still more secure - some security has been sacrificed for ease of use. It would be much more secure if new startup services and firewall changes had to be manually configured - but users won't stand for it. (Hence why we got in this mess in the first place).

Again, a total non-story (3, Insightful)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235665)

Why does Slashdot continue to post Apple-related non-stories? Every time Steve Jobs farts or some idiot proclaims the coming Mac-Virus-Mayhem (tm), Slashdot takes the bait.

This MSNBC(!) story contains no facts whatsoever. No piece of significant OS X malware has been discovered so far, and I believe it's highly likely that there won't be any in the immediate future. WTF does the Intel switch have to do with that?

X86 myth - tool chain aspects (1, Informative)

marcovje (205102) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235670)


The funny part is what x86 would have to do with it? The x86 ABI of Mac OS X (which is SYSV like) preclude the usage of ordinary Windows tools, and getting a OSX/x86 targeting toolchain based on GCC is (slightly) harder than getting a PPC one has been.

Sensasionalist piece. Hanging is too good for them :-)

Forbidden Fruit (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235676)

Anyone knows you don't get something for nothing.

Viruses for all different operating systems exist.
There are holes and exploits for practically everything known to man.

Now, if I walk into the dodgiest parts of town (with my turtle neck sweater on) and ask the shady guy at the street corner for a forbidden secret preview of the next big thing do you really think I will survive with the same number (and size) orifices as I started with?

Once you leave the beaten track, you cannot be sure what lurks in the shadows.

So Linux is vulnerable to virusses ... (-1, Troll)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235679)

... given it mainly runs on x86 based CPUs. (I know I know it can run on other CPUs too but the majority of computer are x86 based anyway.)

How about the virus name? (2, Informative)

lostngone (855272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235685)

CNN is carrying this article and so is msnbc, however no one mentioned the viruses name. I swear this is old, it sounds like the OSX/Leap-A incident that occurred back in early February. It wasn't even a virus is was a trojan horse. Apple will patch for this like they did the others and life will go one. At least Apple patchs for these unlike Microsoft that just recommends installing its "beta" program to "fix" the problem or some other 3rd-party software that may or may not cost even more money.

Re:How about the virus name? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235889)

Mod Parent up.

This incident happened in Feburary, when the guy got tricked into downloading something by thinking it was "Leopard" screenshots, and wound up with the trojan. All the trojan did was ask for a password to run some script in Terminal. Then a couple of other people downloaded it to work on it and rip it apart. This was on Apple Insider forums I think.

Basically, it's a 10-week-old non-story that's confused in its technical details

Manage user expectations (2)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235690)

If your new powerbook is running BootCamp and your currently using XP then you need to lower your expectations, its a Mac, its running a flawed OS, so unless your careful you are going to end up with a virus, just like the other X Million windows users, regardless of hardware.

If your running OS X then I'd say your risk is just that bit lower, its a less flawed OS. My last check showed 4 viruses aimed at OS X; (Symantec) OSX.Leap.A; OSX.Inqtana.A; OSX.Inqtana.B; MacOS.MW2004.Trojan; Which is a few orders of magnitude less than for Windows XP (Nevermind all the other versions).

Sure the OS X on intel has shown a few flaws and sure some of them will be exploited but its a world away from the threat to a Windows Machine. I dont think that there is an OS out there in common usage that isnt succeptable to infection, its all about how prevelent the threat is.

Take your chances and see where it leaves you.

Re:Manage user expectations (1)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235703)

What I failed to add to the post above is that its not the architecture thats the issue, even if it is more common, the transition between architectures probably left a few holes as it wasn't a trivial move, but running OS X on intel shouldn't make it as insecure or as vulnerable as a Windows Machine, just as running GNU/Linux, BSD or Solaris (or any *nix) on intel doesnt make it "as" vulnerable as a Windows machine.

Sheesh, sorry

mixed article (5, Insightful)

gmccloskey (111803) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235691)

No-one can deny that with growing popularity of OS X that it becomes an increasingly attractive target. Malware writing works on similar economics to regular software: this implies that malware will exist but be a niche deployment. So it is a concern, but not the end of the world, or of Apple, as the world likes to regularly predict.

The article was mixed in accuracy. Many Mac users believe themselves to be invulnerable - the truth is they are currently /less/ vulnerable than the mainstream desktop OS. The thesis that using an intel processor increases security risks is not true - OSen don't allow direct hardware access as such, and how many script kiddies write x86 microcode?. Running Windows on a IntelMac may potentially increase security probems, and reduce the Macintosh (not OS X) brand reputation for security. It depends on how the 'wall' between x86 file access and OSX file access is implemented.

Nothing in IT or anywhere else is 100%. Currently OS X is more secure in many areas than its competitors. To maintain or improve on this, constant vigilence and innovation are required by Apple, ISVs and most importantly users.

cha-ching (3, Insightful)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235692)

I wonder what percentage of some anti-virus software company's profits are a direct result of this article.

I'm in denial about invisible pink unicorns too. Put up or shut-up.

Re:cha-ching (0)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235743)

as a invisible pink unicorn, i can tell you that I am indeed "putting up", we exist, so leave off. On a slightly less crazy note I don't consider this to be such a bad thing, ok, I know this might make some virus companies share go up, but macs are not invunerable, so why not have some kind of security? I'm running linux and have clamav installed, I know that I might never get a virus, but if I ever was to then it would be more serious if left.

I know people won't like this, but; a windows home computer where the user takes all the appropriate security checks will be more secure than a mac where no security checks are made and infections will be less serious... so why don't people do the sensible thing and develop an open-source virus scanner for mac funded exclusively from donations?

Page out of M$ market.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235817)

...share growth handbook.

Create a great OS with just a few security flaws to force paid upgrades.

Oh wait...

Which will come first? (4, Funny)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235716)

The Year of the Linux Desktop

or

The Year of The OS X Viruses

Inquiring minds want to know.

Re:Which will come first? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235826)

The Year of the Linux Desktop
or
The Year of The OS X Viruses


For me and millions of other Windows users who're on the edge of their patience, it's:

The Year Vista Didn't Come Out *Again*

MSNBCFUD (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235741)

Even an Associated Press article, it makes you wonder what gains Microsoft would possibly have for putting it on the front door of MSNBC.

I mean with Vista being such a slam-dunk, why would they need to engage in FUD?

Granted - Apple has warnings of running windows on their boot-camp page and what fun awaits the end user so the reported denial is obviously massive from Cuppertino and that would create a massive pile of denial from the Apple-user community no doubt.

God bless the press for keeping everyone informed of the latest threat to Mac OSX users, and to the homeland security department for keeping those colors coming. I guess I'll have to keep vigilant - albiet productive - while my neighbors reinstall windows every couple of months from all the malware slowdowns. Also special thanks for the heads-up Semantech, you're doing a great job keeping the windows world safe for NT users. Your service is no-doubt going to be needed on the Mac and boy will we be thankful.

Just about the time hell freezes over.

Obviously written by an idiot (0, Troll)

bulldogzerofive (947922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235761)

My favorite quotes from the article: "MSNBC.com is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture"... this says a lot... "Apple officials point to the company's virtually unvarnished security track record"... uh, did you mean UNTARNISHED, retard?... "said Daines, a 29-year-old British chemical engineer who once considered Macs invulnerable to such attacks,"... this makes him a qualified source how?... "He and at least one other person who clicked on the links were infected by what security experts call the first-ever virus for Mac OS X"... wow. Two people infected. What an outbreak... "Tom Ferris said"... Who the fuck is Tom Ferris again?

Re:Obviously written by an idiot (1, Flamebait)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235832)

"MSNBC.com is a Microsoft - NBC joint venture"... this says a lot

What does it say? How does it explain the fact that MSNBC also runs stories on Microsoft-based exploits? Hmm... this says a lot.

Daines, a 29-year-old British chemical engineer who once considered Macs invulnerable to such attacks,"... this makes him a qualified source how?

Probably something to do with the fact that 99% of users of systems, be they Mac or Win, are about as knowledgeable about viruses as he is, for better or worse?

Who the fuck is Tom Ferris again?

Who the fuck is bulldogzerofive?

In other news, Chicken Little still is (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235772)

warning us the sky is falling.

I know as well as anybody the Mac OS was never immune from viruses, that's impossible.

But how many times do I have to read articles where the alarmists are warning us that the big one is finally coming and we're all going to die horrible deaths.

Yeah, I expect a virus or three may come one day. But Windows and it's users has survived thousands without the apocolypse on a world-wide. Hell, many of my friends run windows without anti-virus and mostly don't have infections (can't say the same for malware).

So why should it be different for Mac? Why will a single virus there bring about such alarmists? Apple's record on security is better than MS.

Just remember, any OS is vulnerable, if not to viruses, then to Murphy's law, shit happens. So make regular backups, sit back, and relax.

Re:In other news, Chicken Little still is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235842)

Hell, many of my friends run windows without anti-virus and mostly don't have infections

Bless your hygienic friends. Including Bruce.

Countdown ... (1, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235777)

... until somebody starts a flamewar by saying that Macs are not immune to viruses after all and they've only managed to stay relativelly safe because there are so few of them, to which a horde of Mac religious fanatics angrily reply that Windows is much worse at which point the flames start flying back and forth all the while drowning the only 2 posts that make sense, one saying that the only mainstream OS purposelly made with security in mind was OpenBSD and the other that says that stupid users running with admin rights that open executable attachments in mails from unknown sources are, independently of the OS, the biguest cause of virus infections.

3, 2, .... nevermind, already started.

New viruses? Maybe (1)

theheff (894014) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235783)

Perhaps a new line of malware will come along as the new macs grow in popularity, but it will be much different than the PC line of viruses. Mac OS X just doesn't have room and the customization to leave the gap for viruses. What I mean is that the software is written completely different. Safari is debatebly a very decent browser, but it's not customizable like IE is in Windows. There is no activeX, registry, plugins, etc. It runs alone, which greatly affects the difficulty of writing malicious software to take advantage of it. This is really how the majority of software in OS X is. I think the only true way that OS X could be at risk is stand-alone executables that could be downloaded and ran on their own, which of course is dependant entirely on the end-users.

Experts eh? (5, Interesting)

Keen Anthony (762006) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235799)

Apple's iconic status, growing market share and adoption of same microprocessors used in machines running Windows are making Macs a bigger target, some experts warn.
Sadly those "experts" could not be reached for explanation because they were out buying antivirus software for Linux and FreeBSD - cause, you know, they're both iconic, have a growing market share, and run on the same microprocessors as Windows.
"They didn't know how to deal with security, and I think Apple is in the same situation now," said Ferris, himself a Mac user.
Sure, being a minority OS does mean fewer virus writers targeting the Mac, but Mac OS X has been cool for a few years now, and I'm still waiting for those dangerous viruses. I'd say Apple knows a little something about dealing with security - certainly enough not to pawn off the responsibility to the antivirus aftermarket.
The Mac's vulnerability could also increase as Apple transitions to a product line that uses microprocessors made by Intel Corp., security experts said. With new Macs running the same processor that powers Windows-based machines, far more people will know how to exploit weaknesses in Apple machines than in the past, when they ran on the PowerPC chips made by IBM Corp. and Motorola Corp. spinoff Freescale Semiconductor Inc.
Who are these security experts, and do they work weddings and bar-mitzvahs too? Since when did familiarity with a microprocessor lead to intimacy with an operating system. There's so much I still don't know about BeOS and I've written assembly on PowerPC and x86. The vulnerabilities described in the article may be found here. [secunia.com] For the most part, it looks like flaws in the way Safari and Preview handle GIFs, TIFFs, BMPs, and bad ZIPs can cause an application crash, and *possibly* allow code execution (even via certain malformed HTML tags). I've had corrupt graphics files and zip archives crash Preview and Safari in the past, but never any virus-like behavior. Still, it's a good thing to note, but the reporting could have been much better.

Shenannigans! (1)

SoupIsGood Food (1179) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235813)

An anecdotal tale of an unconfirmed in-the-wild exploit on a site run by a corporate rival? MAN THE LIFEBOATS! Mac OS X is no longer secure! No better than Windows with Microsoft's few... ahh... few thousand virii and exploits in the wild, no sir! Panic! Mass mayhem! Purchasing of Dells!

Pfft.

The Tech Punditocracy has been banging the drum on Mac OS X's insecurity pretty heavy these past few months. I'm beginning to believe it's just a scam to sell AV software to gullible IT managers, and to protect windows VARs from a growing corporate push to switch to a more secure platform than Windows.

I have yet to be bit by any sort of malware in all my years of using a Mac. The same cannot be said of my Windows experience... virii, spyware, worms... it's a vast and growing problem. On the Mac, it's a tiny and controlled problem. The difference is mainly in software architecture and in corporate attitudes to fixing software issues. Apple comes out ahead on both counts. It ain't no OpenBSD, sure, but it beats running two AV scanners and three spyware detectors just to check your email.

     

This is a no brainer (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235849)

If they are running XP on them now, but this is irrelevant of the hardware platform. The x86 issue has nothing to do with vulnerabilities other than portability or binary compatibility of the virus/worm itself. The biggest problem with virus/worms/phishing is plain old fashioned ignorance, and that is the most portable vulnerability that can be found on every hardware/software platform.

Can you say "FUD"? (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235852)

This article was on CNN last night as well, under the headline "Viruses catch up to the Mac."

Uh, yeah. Sure. Two guys get hit by something, the articles are not even clear about exactly what, and it's, "Oh noes! The sky is falling!"

Yeah, viruses are really catching up to the Mac. One down (maybe), a few tens of thousands more to go to catch up to the quantity available for Windows. Look at all the crap you need to do properly secure an XP box. [comcast.net] Even if this alleged Mac virus is the real thing, you can stay safe simply by not going to dodgy sites, and thinking for a moment about why that thing you downloaded from said dodgy site is asking for your admin password.

The antivirus vendors must have realized that we just laugh at their press releases touting the dire threats to the Mac, so now they're funneling their fearmongering drivel through the Associated Press in a laughable attempt to turn it into Real News. Nice try, guys.

~Philly

Does the Author own Symantec stock? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235853)

In the interests of full transparency the news article should state if the author, news organization, or parent of the news organization (if it has one) owns ANY stock in Symantec who makes (as far as I know) the only Mac Anti-virus product.

If there is a virus out there... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15235878)

...why won't they tell me what it is?

That whole article is based on one key event. Mac users did SOMETHING, and got a virus that did SOMETHING. What did they do? And did it involve giving an admin password?

If they have a story, why aren't they telling it?

The argument about market share is just stupid. In order to write a virus you have to be something of a programmer. In order to write a Mac virus you have to be a Mac programmer. And who becomes a Mac programmer unless they like the Mac platform?

There are plenty of people working on Windows who hate and despise it. They work on it because there's lots of work out there. There aren't a similar number of people working on Mac who hate Mac OS.

Anti-virus company campaign propaganda (5, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235880)

What? So Macs were immune against viruses?

Seriously, it's way too easy to have a go at this MSNBC BS. What is more worthy to note is the frequency and desperation with which these articles keep appearing, claiming sleeping beauty mac-users are in imminent danger if they continue to refuse to take part in the virus paranoia of the Windows world.

I have been using W2K with no anti-virus software for years with no side effects. Sadly and with amusement do I follow the antics of my fellow XP users with their shiny anti-virus crapware popping up redundant warnings and notifications and slowing the machine to a crawl. And to top the irony they have to turn off anti-virus whenever they install anything or run certain software. And when you go to your workplace or school the machines there have been made almost entirely useless by over zealous protection software.

Having a go at Macs for security is either stupidity or plain propaganda. Security doesn't come from anti-virus programs. It comes from the underlying architecture of the OS and the third-party software having to comply with the security principles of the underlying architecture. Anti-virus software only protects the computer against clueless users and thus it can be claimed that any computer/OS architecture requires some.

And as for the age old user base threshold argument I'm still waiting. OSX has been for some time the most common UNIX based OS. It is remarkable how little vulnerabilities have been found considering the amount of software and services running on OSX by default. Thus, comparatively, statements involving OSX and poor security continue to be plain ludicrous.

As for me I'll merrily continue running my apparently 'immune' W2K box (behind two tailor made firewalls) and wave my greetings and encouragement to my fellow mac users.

well duh! (2, Interesting)

john_uy (187459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235921)

no system is 100% virus free. there may be systems that have probability that is very low.

people supporting alternative systems such as linux and unix (including mac os), etc. should avoid claiming they are not able to be infected with virus and worms. such false advertising may cause people to abandon the adoption at the end because they will just think "hey, why spend all the fuss when you get the same problems.)

ignorance is the problem. education is the solution. it may be easier to avoid getting worms and viruses in linux than windows but educating a user might be able to avoid the same with windows as well.

Damn you x86!! (1)

jtalerico (950602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15235952)

I knew once apple switched to x86 this would happen. I bet IBM is saying, "Biggest mistake of your life" -Some movie....
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"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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