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Thread: Macs unsecure?

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    Macs unsecure?

    My teacher said to me about a month ago that he hadn't bothered installing antivirus, -spyware, etc. on his Mac, because they were so secure that no-one has macs as targets when hacking or writing viri (viruses). Now, I read in some blogs:
    "A hackers perspective - Windows much more secure than Mac"

    "McAfee last year said that reported Mac vulnerabilities increased 228% in the past three years, compared with a 73% increase for Windows. And Apple is lagging behind Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) in issuing bug fixes, with Apple taking an average of 66 days to patch vulnerabilities, while Microsoft took three weeks.

    But the Mac is still safer than Windows, says Johannes Ullrich, chief research officer at the SANS Institute. It's just not as safe as Apple pretends it is."


    In the last paragraph of the last quote though, it sais that it is safer. How come, when it sais that Apple are "lagging behind"?

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    Senior Coder TheShaner's Avatar
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    First off, your teacher is a moron. No matter what OS you have installed, you should have some sort of virus/spyware protection on it, and it's never a bad idea to have a firewall of some sort, whether through your router or software on your computer. With the popularity that Macs have been gaining over the last 10 years, more and more viruses and worms are being written to expose their vulnerabilities. If you're running a Linux OS, you're probably even more safe than a Mac as there are less threats out there that target Linux kernels. However, as many people here will tell you, NO OS is immune to hacking, viruses, worms, trojans, etc.

    Second, it says that Apple lags in issuing bug fixes. It does not say they lag behind in security. Apple still can boast that Macs are more secure than Windows. However, as Johannes Ullrich points out, they are no longer as secure as they used to be thought. When more and more people begin buying a particular brand and OS, more hackers jump on the wagon to expose unknown vulnerabilities, resulting in a less secure OS than previously thought. Mind you, hackers can refer to the people that expose these vulnerabilities to exploit people and their machines, and also to refer to the people that work for companies or independently to find/report these vulnerabilities in order to create a safer environment.

    -Shane

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    Agree with Shaner.
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkLightA View Post
    "McAfee last year said that reported Mac vulnerabilities increased 228% in the past three years, compared with a 73% increase for Windows.
    If the Mac had one vulnerability, and then it had two, that would be a 100% increase. If Windows had 1000, and then they got 730 more, that would be a 73% increase. Which is the better OS?
    And Apple is lagging behind Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) in issuing bug fixes, with Apple taking an average of 66 days to patch vulnerabilities, while Microsoft took three weeks.
    Bug fixes or vulnerabilities? Haven't looked at the article yet but there's a huge difference. There are vulnerabilities in Windows that have been around for years and still unpatched.

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    Mac OS-X is based on BSD, which is considered to be more secure than linux, but as others have already said you do need to make sure you have firewalls, and anti-virus software installed. You should also avoid doing day-to-day tasks as superusers.

    "McAfee last year said that reported Mac vulnerabilities increased 228% in the past three years, compared with a 73% increase for Windows. And Apple is lagging behind Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) in issuing bug fixes, with Apple taking an average of 66 days to patch vulnerabilities, while Microsoft took three weeks.
    This is very clever marketing from MacAfee, using percentages to hide the actual figures. They know that Mac-OS-X, BSD and Linux are less likely to get viruses than windows, but they also know that their market share of security products for windows is bigger than their market share of security products for other operating systems. The net result - panic people into switching to windows, and then use their market leverage to sell their products
    live every day as if it was your first

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    Regular Coder BabyJack's Avatar
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    If the Mac had one vulnerability, and then it had two, that would be a 100% increase. If Windows had 1000, and then they got 730 more, that would be a 73% increase. Which is the better OS?
    Good point. That would mean that if it had 1, then it gained another 23.8 more, that would be a 238% increase.

    PS: I'm currently on a MacBook. :P
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    Senior Coder TheShaner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyJack View Post
    Good point. That would mean that if it had 1, then it gained another 23.8 more, that would be a 238% increase.
    No, that would mean you had a 2280% increase.

    Code:
    <old amount>(x + 1) = <new amount>
    x = <new amount> / <old amount> - <old amount>
    x = 23.8 / 1 - 1
    So x = 22.8, which is 2280%
    -Shane

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    Senior Coder TheShaner's Avatar
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    Recent proof that Macs are not invulnerable:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/04/22/f...net/index.html
    The iBotnet is a sign that harmful programs are moving toward Mac, said Paul Henry, a forensics and security analyst at Lumension Security in Arizona.
    -Shane

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheShaner View Post
    Recent proof that Macs are not invulnerable
    Of course, no one ever said that but it's laughable that some of these people find something go wrong, once over the course of many years, and lord it over the Mac like they are unaware of their own problems and that their own problems (Windows) are similar or even comparable.

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    Senior Coder TheShaner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
    Of course, no one ever said that but it's laughable that some of these people find something go wrong, once over the course of many years, and lord it over the Mac like they are unaware of their own problems and that their own problems (Windows) are similar or even comparable.
    Calm down man and get your panties out of a bunch. You read my other post in this thread and so you should understand why I'm posting this. The OP's teacher stated that you don't need antivirus software on a Mac. This is just proof of why it is SAFER to have antivirus protection. Neither I nor the article even remotely suggest that this is some huge outbreak and that Macs are severely vulnerable, esp. compared to Windows. This is just proof that no matter what OS you're on, you should have some kind of protection. The article is just pointing out that since Macs are more prominent than they were years ago that it is predicted that much more targeted attacks on Macs will likely ensue in the coming years, as exemplified by this recent episode.

    The only reason for the post with the article was to make the OP and any other readers out there aware that Macs do have vulnerabilities, as do all OSes (and some much more than others obviously).

    Moral of the story:

    To prevent infection, it's always best to abstain from internet connections. However, if you do decide to engage in internet connections, you should always use protection.

    -Shane
    Last edited by TheShaner; 04-23-2009 at 07:25 PM.

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    Mac users at large, however, should not be alarmed by the incident, experts said. The program infects only computers whose users downloaded pirated versions of the Mac software iWork.
    This is what happens if you obtain software from untrusted sources
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheShaner View Post
    Neither I nor the article even remotely suggest that
    I wasn't referring to you or the article so don't get your panties in a bunch.

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    UE Antagonizer Fumigator's Avatar
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    You quoted his post!!! How on earth is that not referring to him? You've got a screw loose somewhere.


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