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OS X Security


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#1
dsp

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I've recently installed OS X on my computer.
I use the OS X build in firewall and Little snitch for extra networking security.

Still, the more I use OS X, the more I question the security of it.

I'm very careful which apps and website I use and visit.
I try to keep everything legal as possible, even if this means using a demo.

Yet, I receive more and more spam and other suspicious things every day.
Today someone added me on MSN which I'm 100% sure it's a bot or commercial related bot, so I denied it.

This got me thinking, am I really that safe using OS X online?
I never experienced those problems in Windows.

I hope someone could shed some light on this subject, and not just quote what Apple says about their own OS.

Thank you.

#2
lucaspeed

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This got me thinking, am I really that safe using OS X online?


Absolutely not.
To be really sure to have your PC clean and not infected with spam, viruses, spyware and adware you should continue using Windows, the Most Secure OS In The World®.

#3
3.14r2

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No OS can protect user from being stupid. Those people who are perfectly aware of what they are doing should not be worried much. This is true both for Windows, OS X and Linux.

OS X is partially based on FreeBSD, therefore is Unix like OS in it's core. Unix like OSs are used in networking and other corporate application - an environment where security is top priority. Based on that I suppose it is much more secure then Windows is. Unfortunately it is not 100% fail safe (like any other OS).

That doesn't mean that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Macs become more popular (partially with help of this forum) then it used to be. There were no serious virus attack risks until recently. Few weeks ago I was asked to remove a virus called MacDefender from a MacBook Pro. I was very surprised to hear about a virus on Mac. Sad but true, viruses for mac are now reality.

#4
dsp

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@lucaspeed: That almost sounds sarcastic.

@3.14r2: With the same user stupidity in Windows 7, I've never been bothered with this.
Like I said, I keep a close eye on network traffic, and I prefer to use a demo instead of downloading and cracking without a care in the world. I delete tracking cookies frequently.

I block any or partial network access to software that I'm not familiar with.

#5
Gringo Vermelho

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Few weeks ago I was asked to remove a virus called MacDefender from a MacBook Pro. I was very surprised to hear about a virus on Mac.


Still, from what I've read anyway, it looks like MacDefender will only 'infect' you if you open the door and let it in. The user has to download it, type his administrator password and install it.

I haven't heard of "drive-by" type viruses on OS X, like you can get on Windows, ie the type where you visit a website, click some disguised link and bam you have a virus.

#6
dsp

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And everyone knows how easy it is to implement another executable file into an app's content, right?

#7
Gringo Vermelho

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No, I think relatively few people are aware of anything like that, especially those who download and install MacDefender after being scared by a browser popup that is made to look like a Finder window.

#8
3.14r2

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Yes, exactly how it happen (a user got scarred that there is a virus his Mac and installed the suggested "antivirus software"). Same type of malware/virus is quite popular amongst Windows users (I have "cured" few PCs from these "antiviruses").

As per above, no OS can protect user from his own stupidity.

#9
dsp

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No, I think relatively few people are aware of anything like that, especially those who download and install MacDefender after being scared by a browser popup that is made to look like a Finder window.


I was being sarcastic :P

I'm relative new to OS X, and I love it.
It's just that I need to do some basic research before I go all out on OS X.

#10
ruger42

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Interesting article on the subject: Mac Security Threats: How Vulnerable Is Apple?


#11
Swhay

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I think part of the problem is perception. For 10 years Macs have been pretty much unaffected by Malware and viruses. With Windows no one thinks twice about a new variant of a virus or malware. Now with Macs becoming more popular and Windows in decline (to a small degree) any Malware that comes out for Mac even if it does not wreak havoc, it's big news and a lot of new Mac users are under a false impression that Mac is 100% safe.

I still feel Mac is safer and to some degree more secure than Windows, because with the Mac malware (so far), you have to install it, there is user interaction, you know it's happening. A lot of the false antivirus malware for windows, installs silently and is almost impossible to get rid of without reinstalling the operating system.

#12
PineAppleApe

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I think it's all funny with those software viruses that crawl into systems without being noticed. I mean, how on earth could a programming method gain so much popularity since the 70ies if it allows invisible tampering. Yes, I suspect it's the approach that was taken on programming and how systems should work that caused the easy coming of software virusses.

#13
.picodev

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Interesting fact is,Windows had DEP (Data Execution Prevention),Adress Space Layout Randomization and many other protection schemes long before OSX even started getting some primitive implementations of those.Also,it does kernel adress space checksum checks periodically to prevent memory corruption etc..its is a safehouse in a bad neighbourhood like some security experts say.Though,they had problems with ActiveX and no sandboxing practices,in Win 7 there is indeed an API for doing it,although hard on developers to implement it.In the old days,the problem was it was single user focused and the default account was an administrator account so all the power was in the hands of bad code that when executed (if it can circumvent the protection),could do whatever it wanted.Now the UAC in the newer Windoze is the same as a standard OSX admin password prompt..In the coming future,a proper antivirus/antimalware/antieverything software with a smart heuristics engine will be a must on the consumer desktop,be it Windows or OSX since it has the power to potentialy stop malicious processes even if they have root/administrator privileges and help protect the user from his own stupidity.But Apple being Apple,will never admit their OS is vulnerable,they will either push in silently an antivir invisible to the end user,or just lock down the platform turning it into something like their iPhones/iPads (we are already seeing some interesting activity on this field)

#14
OneBlueSky

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Like many other people have said already, computers (ANY of them) are only as safe as the person using them. None of them are bulletproof. OS X and Linux distros only enjoy the ability to claim fewer viruses, because their market shares are much less than that of Windows. If people started targeting them, and they had users not well versed in how to be safe, they'd get just as many viruses. There are things that make OS X and Linux inherently safer than Windows, but still, put a tool behind the keyboard, and give them the same market share Windows has, and you'd have just as many issues as people do with Windows.

I can live in the biggest, safest, most secure home in the world. If I don't lock the doors, someone can still step right inside. Just be smart online. Best anti-virus you can ever have.





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