Is Mac that secure

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by mikel108, Jan 10, 2005.

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  1. mikel108

    mikel108 Registered Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    SW Ontario, Canada
    I was talking to a computer geek the other day and he said that Mac's were almost immune to viruses. I did notice that AV vendors do not list a Mac version of their AV. Did I misunderstand him, or are they really that great against viruses? o_O
  2. meneer

    meneer Registered Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    The Netherlands
    That's almost a religious discussion.
    Mac is based on a feebsd kernel (called Darwin), a unix kernel.
    Big difference between windows and almost all other operating systems is that in windows there is narrow gap between the kernel mode and the user mode. In fact several processes that should be in user mode are in kernel mode, thereby exposing the inner workings of the kernel to the outside world. That could be a risk. There is no such thing in MacOS.
    Another difference is thatin Unix style OS's all apps are run with minimum permissions. All user processes only have the permissions that the user has. When a user has no root/admin authorization, the risk is far less. In Windows most useres always run as admin (and there are not even aware of it...).
    Finally: there is less MacOs on this world, so there is less chance of a hacker running around. In my opinion this is not the main reason for the fact that there are few virusses on Mac, although fierce Windows fans really state so.

    There are some Mac virusses/worms, but the impact is far less than in Windows world.
  3. RejZoR

    RejZoR Registered Member

    May 31, 2004
    It's not the matter of how good core is (partialy yes) but how widely is used in the world. And Windows are used worldwide so they are targeted because you can make bigger effect if there is large number of such machines.
  4. halcyon

    halcyon Registered Member

    May 14, 2003
    Mac hardware has two possible operating systems: the old Classic system (OS 9 mostly these days) and the new OS X (BSD core).

    For both systemns the total amount and prevalence of itw viri is staggeringly low.

    I have in my lifetime of mac use (since '84) seen two Mac viruses.

    These days I don't even request an AV software to be used if the person using the computer is semi-conscious. This may change in the future, who knows, but currently it's not essential imho. This assessment is based on existings risks and prevalence, not theoretical possibilities.

    As for other securities, OS9 with no additional services is really really safe. It is possible to DOS it to the point of breaking, but hacking it is nigh impossible.

    OS X is perhaps a little bit less secure, but out of the box it is also much more secure than any XP release so far.

    Also, it can be made even more secure just by clicking a few buttons in the System preferences.

    Uncrackable? Of course not, but definitely one of the least insecure of the easy-to-use BSD-derivatives.

    Of course, once you start running 3rd party services/servers, all bets are off.

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