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"Macs don't get viruses"

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ok, so everytime I get a stupid email from someone (sometimes a close friend or family member) telling me they might have sent me a virus, or to delete some folder in windows (HA HA) and I will safely remove the virus (HOAX), I always reply with "Macs don't get viruses" and tell them that I am sorry they got a virus and wish em well with their (upchuck, cough PC).

Is what I am saying the truth? It just seems that EVERYONE I know has had a virus on their PC at some point or another. And most viruses come in the form of an exe file - some kind of worm or something.

Is there any sort of viruses I should be on the look out for? I don't even have virus protection on my emac unless it's automatic. My email never opens anything from anyone unless I tell it to.

My friend said there are some viruses for Mac that he has encountered that screw with your preferences and are more annoying that damaging. Is that true?

Just want to know if 1. I am a liar and 2. If I should keep my eye out for viruses that COULD affect my mac. And if so, what are they called and what are their symptoms?

Thanks.

Jessica
post #2 of 32
I do believe there are viruses for macs, I've installed Norton Anti-Virus on my iBook. But I think they are less prevalent b/c (this is just my conjecture) A. the user base for macs are smaller i.e. less people to screw around B. mac users that can code are less interested in screwing with other peoples macs out of respect for macs

Just my 2 cents
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"Beware the Jabberwock , my son! The jaws that bite, the claw that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the the frumious Bandersnatch!"

from Jabberwocky, excerpt from Alice through the looking...
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post #3 of 32
After using a Mac for over 10 years, I can safely say that I have absolutely NEVER gotten a virus.

And, my Macs have been exposed to the internet and all... it's just never become a problem. We used to have Symantec Anti-Virus (yes, that's how long ago it was), but it never caught anything except for the occasional Word macro virus. And those don't really count, IMO, since the MS Word itself was the trojan horse, and I installed that one myself, consciously.

So, of course, you could get a Mac virus... they do exist... but I never have.
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post #4 of 32
The term 'virus" has become a little muddled. Viruses used to be little bits of code added to executables. To these, Macs have been immune because, well, yes Macs are less popular and there are not a lot of people hacking Mac applications. Instead viruses modified .exe and .com files.

Some of the recent rashes of "viruses" (eh-heh, 'rash' get it) that have made the news actually aren't viruses but VBscripts. See Microsoft decided that scripts attached to emails, when opened with Outlook, should run automatically and be able to anything to any file on the computer, even system files. Neat huh?

Mac OS X is a BSD Unix derivative and as a Unix the files have varying levels of permissions plus scripting hasn't been so haphazardly integrated into user level apps.

But the structure of the OS can protect you only so far. That's why you shouldn't be doing anything casual (email, web, et cetera) as root. Heck, on every install of OS X I use, I make an 'admin' account plus my own account and don't give myself admin rights.

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post #5 of 32
Not a single MacOS X virus exists. I wonder when someone is going to write one just to be the first one to do it. They would have to endure the shame that comes with it though! Mac programmers have class.
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post #6 of 32
last i checked, exlcluding word macro viruses, there were 50 viruses for the Mac platform. i believe the PC side is floating around between 50,000 - 60,000.

it's no wonder it feels like there are no Mac viruses. (and there really are no OSX ones)
post #7 of 32
So, the anit-virus portion of Norton Utilities is really worthless... Damn. Refund.

Eh, so what the hell am I updating on their update service?
"Beware the Jabberwock , my son! The jaws that bite, the claw that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the the frumious Bandersnatch!"

from Jabberwocky, excerpt from Alice through the looking...
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"Beware the Jabberwock , my son! The jaws that bite, the claw that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the the frumious Bandersnatch!"

from Jabberwocky, excerpt from Alice through the looking...
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post #8 of 32
Last Mac virus that really did some damage was Autostart Worm 9805...which came and went in...1998...
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post #9 of 32
This article may be of interest to you.

Could be Symantec stirring up some sales though \
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally posted by Eugene
Last Mac virus that really did some damage was Autostart Worm 9805...which came and went in...1998...

That was the only time I ever had a virus. On my 6500/275.
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post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally posted by New
That was the only time I ever had a virus. On my 6500/275.

Most people here probably got it from the same infected MacAddict CD.
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post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally posted by LiquidR
So, the anit-virus portion of Norton Utilities is really worthless... Damn. Refund.

Eh, so what the hell am I updating on their update service?

i think the benefit these antivirus programs have, on osx, is they clean up your files, to make sure you dont pass along windows viruses to the other windows users. also, i think they can cleanup known macro viruses on both sides. not worth the price for me, but some of you out there may like being kind to your windows 'friends'.
post #13 of 32
Antivirus programs on a Mac are not worth the CPU cycles they use.
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post #14 of 32
Userbase wide, Norton AntiVirus for OS X has actually caused more data corruption than the viri it is supposed to protect against...
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post #15 of 32
Aside from autostart, the only viruses i remember encountering on a mac (OS 8/9 days) were Word macro viruses, which were more annoying than damaging, since they only affected word files.
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post #16 of 32
You are totally right - don't worry.

In order for a virus to be effective it needs to access and change your system files. You do this all the time, when you install, update, etc. Yet every-time you do this you always have to put in your username and password, so if a virus did run on your computer it would have to ask you for authorization to even start. All this adds up to a bug proof computer.
post #17 of 32
While the threat of viri on the mac is almost zero, I wouldn't go as far to say that they need access to system files to be damaging.

It is the files belonging to the current user that are critical. Normally, its user generated data that is most important. The system can be reinstalled fairly easily in a matter of hours. Corrupted or deleted user data is gone forever unless previously backed up. File system permissions do nothing to protect the current user's files.
post #18 of 32
Mac viruses are different, too. A good dozen or so of the extant Mac viruses were written by Mac fans to do things like display a special splash screen at startup on the Mac's tenth anniversary.

The number of harmful viruses is really, really low, and the QT Autostart worm is the only one that got anywhere.
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post #19 of 32
so does file vault help with this at all or don't you need permission to grab stuff from there if ur that user?


also, how easy would it be to hike a little program to run when the installer is run...i know when you install somethings you have to put in your password like 5 times (heh...funily enough its norton)


also i used to get sevendust rather often...then again i was a compulsive warez puppy who downloaded everything my tiny HD could handle
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post #20 of 32
Personally, I agree with thuh Freak above. I keep Norton AntiVirus on my Macs simply to keep from sending any Windows viruses (especially Word macro viruses) on to any Windows users. I know that the virus won't have any effect on me, but I want to make sure I'm not passing virus-infected files on to a client or friend. It sits there in the background and I never, ever think about it until I hear about the latest virus causing rampaging havoc in the Windows world. Then, I just sit back and appreciate my little Mac all the more and marvel once again at the tremendous job MS has done of brainwashing the entire world to believe that abuse by their computers is a totally normal and acceptable thing.
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post #21 of 32
I found out I had SevenDust and nVIR/a on this OS 9 computer yesterday. I got them from a friend when he gave me a copy of Spaceward Ho! 3.0 that had been passed down from computer to computer since 1993 or so, each computer having been loaded with volumes of second-hand floppies, full of classic Mac applications. Under OS 9, it's possible to play this game over the Internet. Anyway, there were free utilities to take care of both viruses, and neither virus caused any damage. I don't think I've ever gotten a virus from regular Internet usage.
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post #22 of 32
i've never had the Mac version of Norton catch any windows viruses, even when i sent them to myself on purpose to test it out. i don't know that it actually checks for them. can anyone verfiy this?

considering it only updates once a month or so, how could it be up to date with the PC viruses?
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally posted by Eugene
Most people here probably got it from the same infected MacAddict CD.

Bingo, on my 6100/60. That Mac also got AIDS, and most of the other early 90's Mac virii.
post #24 of 32
I had to clean some crap off a professor's computer a few days back. Old-school stuff.

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post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally posted by Eugene
Last Mac virus that really did some damage was Autostart Worm 9805...which came and went in...1998...

I have Autostart 9805 saved on a floppy disk somewhere. I also have WDEF/B somewhere, too. Those were two of the most popular mac virses. I also have the I love you virus on a CD (Windows of course).
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post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 
well...lots of good input. I feel like my mac has a good immune system then :0)
post #27 of 32
MacUser's "Best Cover CD Ever!" (around 96, featuring OpenDoc and Cyberdog, System 7.5.3 updater, etc.) had the MBDF virus on it. All it did was make the Mac hang about once every half hour. Maybe that was the 7.5.3 update

Taken care of by Disinfectant.
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post #28 of 32
The only virus I've seen that has affected the Mac is one called Microsoft.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally posted by iPeon
The only virus I've seen that has affected the Mac is one called Microsoft.

tru dat
post #30 of 32
The company I used to work for in 90s got MBDF/A and Autostart, and these are the 2 things I have seen on Macs a few times since.

My wife is working in a PC-only office and I get called 2-3 times a month to remove another virus. The only respectable solution I have found is Norton Antivirus, but Symantec behaves in a way that suggests that they write all modern Windows virii themselves. Her company doesn't have enough budget to spend on these subscriptions and their life is hell. Windows is one big security hole, and every stupid teenager thinks it's his mission to write a virus for Windows, and most Windows users can't do anything apart from typing in Word to protect themselves, and what the hell do you expect from a pirated OS running on $150 boxes? When all is lost, they "format c:" and start over as if nothing happened.
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post #31 of 32
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post #32 of 32
The lack of virii on the Mac platform is truly a shining point when gloating to my PC user friends, especially when their computer gets fuxxored from a virus

if I remember correctly, while OS X has no viruses, some sepculate that some UNIX virii could possible transfer over, but I don't see that as being a big problem. However, it does seem that with the UNIX core and the terminal and all that good stuff, developing virii would be easier on OS X than any previous macos. Of course I don't really know what it takes to develop...well...anything, and certainly UNIX has a great reputation of security and strong foundations that are hard to crack.

Most likely when(or if) viruses ever start appearing on MacOS X then it will be from switchers, I have never heard of a mac user want to cause harm to the system
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