Sick of worms and viruses?  ‘Move to Mac OS X’ suggests Chicago Tribune columnist

How to avoid worms and viruses? Chicago Tribune columnist James Coates suggests the following, “Move to Macintosh OS X, which has hardly any virus/worm/Trojan horse problems largely because fewer than 3 percent of sales now go to Apple, thereby keeping Macs off the hackers’ screens.”

“In recent years OS X has become so Windows friendly that one can now use a Macintosh to run most of Microsoft Office and do everything on the Internet available to the overwhelming Windows majority,” Coates writes. “One part of Office that OS X lacks is Outlook, home to and target for the bulk of hack vandals. A substitute called Entourage works very nicely for e-mail, and you can tell your IT staff that it now can be synched with Microsoft Exchange Server for network e-mail, calendars and memos.”

Coates writes, “Since the worst of today’s digital vandalism is based on aspects of either Windows XP or Microsoft Office for Windows, Macs should be bulletproof for some time to come. Mac users even get shielded from pop-ups and other mischief with Safari, Apple’s new Web browser.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews note: The Chicago Tribune is read by nearly 2 million people every day, according to the Tribune’s website.


  1. An interesting “left handed compliment” from Coates. However, his premise that the primary reason that Macs do not get attacked as much is because of the small market share is fundamentally wrong.

    With 90+% of the computer users out there being Windows users, even if only a few percent of those are pro Windows fanatics, it only stands to reason that there are a number of them who would LOVE to embarras Apple by unleashing some truly horrible virus or worm against the Mac. The primary reason they have not is because it is more difficult to write viruses and worms for the Mac. It is definitely NOT impossible, just more difficult.

    Coates very often gets the Mac side of the computing industry completely wrong. In fact, I took one of his articles apart line by line back in 1998 or 1999 (with CCs to his editors and publisher) and got a job writing articles about computing for thier various papers for a couple of years.

  2. No computer is secure against hacking 100%, granted, but no computer makes it so easy and actually does collaborate with the virus so pervasively as a PC running Windows.

    It is not visibility, it is because it takes no effort to find a virii-friendly pre-configured PC which is common to the majority of users and welcomes the virii at home.

    Even if a virus would get into OS X, then what? ask user permission to do the rest of its operations? Pop-up a panel with: “Sorry, you do not have root permission to modify this file”.

    All the security flaws on Unix which could grant you root access are limited to specific configurations and specific deamons running on your system that the user has to explicilty activate. That limits enormously the % of infectable platform: no spread, no avalanche effect.
    LOTS of effor wrt Windows for little to no result.

    LOL, a virus once in Windows it is granted to receive administrator rights on it: it becomes GOD. On OS X / Linux it gets sucker rights: it dies as a sucker.

    If it does not spread easily and in all possible configurations then it is not a virus. The last Unix virus infected 600!!! (6 hundreds) platforms WORLDWIDE. Tell me about it! Big news.

    IF it does not get in a Wintel platform it does not receive any help from the OS.
    Global virii and Windows are one kind of a couple and will be one for long time.

    It is not visibility: virii authors seek for the avalanche effect only possible due to the Windows architecture.
    Who cares which OS has the highest market share. IF Linux was granting fast infection of all its servers in the world would you say there would be no big line on newspaper or no disruptions?

    If OS X would spread a virus so effectively to all Unix platforms sure and easy we would have seen LOTS of virii on OS X in two years.

    Windows users should get a reality check: Unix servers are everywhere! Fact is virii cannot be done as effective and as rapidly spreading as with Windows: the attack would be countered rapidly, so much so that no body would even HEAR of a virus attack, just the few hundred affected before it all dies off.

  3. uhmm, long post that one but it makes me sick everytime I hear people repeating the one line that Micros**t PRs have been able to come out with in order to get a positive publicity from their lame lack of security: “We are attacked because we are the most popular: We are the best”.

    And people gobble and swallow it. JEEZZ.
    I need a bucket, a BUCKET!!!

  4. I’ve done A LOT of research concerning marketshare / virus penetration… and found there is NO CONNECTION.

    The reason Windows gets hit is because of the following:

    1) Windows applications run as ‘system’ which makes apps like IM or IE comparable to GOD on Windows. Mac applications do not run with this level of power within the hierachry of services.

    2) A Virus on Mac would require the active collaboration of the user to spread. On Windows it has the granted collaboration of Windows. For example, Dialog Boxes prevent spreading address book tampering on the Mac, not so with Windows.

    3) Microsoft has added VBScript into EVERYTHING that they ship. Excel, Word, Outlook, IE, etc. The intention of this was good, lets make it easy for people to add macros. The outcome has been bad, as there was no security thought put into it until virii started appearing all over windows.

    4) OSX comes with a more secure default configuration, with most services “off” by default, which is the weakness of most Unix and Linux systems, since they’re usually deployed as servers and have most of their services “on” by default. Users on OSX don’t run at even the admin level by default. So if you were to launch a Virus it could ONLY ravage your own home directory.

    There are more, but that gives you an idea… while I agree viruses could happen on the mac, it’s EXTREMELY unlikely even if Apple had 100% of the market. Apple simply does not ship machines that allow for ACCESS. Even if ACCESS was obtain, “root” is not enabled, so it would require a reboot to get under the system to do any damage.

    I think reporters don’t have full grasp of the Windows/Unix/OSX operating environments so they go for the ignorant idea that “marketshare” equals vulnerability. Which is NOT the case!!!

    Please send this info to ANY report that is still confused. Thanks!!! ADW

  5. A backhanded compliment at best and continuing the FUD tradition at worst.

    The low market share excuse for the lack of virus and worm problems on the Mac gives far too much credit to the virus writers and not enough to the actual truth of the matter that OS X is a far more difficult OS to infect and takes programming skills that 99.9% of the Windows virus writer’s lack.

  6. It’s kind of like saying Fort Knox is less prone to Bank Robbery since it has “less marketshare”. Which of course has nothing to do with “share” and everything to do with how it’s secured. Windows is completly DIFFERENT than OSX, it has holes via ActivX, VBasic, OLE, etc… The Mac just doesn’t have these loopholes, PLUS it’s guarded by “root”, and very few com ports being open… it’s like Fort Knox in the way it’s constructed and governed, Windows is like the lock box at a Cookie Bake Sale.

  7. The primary reasons that users have it worse than macs in terms of viruses are popularity (I’ll grant) but more importantly, macros and the registry. Neither of which Apple will ever have. As one of the posters mentioned above a virii cannot gain root access so easily on os x. In windows all the unsuspecting luzer has to do is click on the wrong email attachment and his system files get overwritten. Macs sys files cannot be tampered with by errant viruses. so even if there were one that affected a mac I can’t imagine that it would affect near as many people and it would do much less damage.

  8. popularity it’s NOT the primary reason… it has NOTHING to do with POPULARITY… it’s WINDOWS inherent DESIGN that is these Occur, Spread and repeat, nothing more.

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