Mac OS X has no viruses; what’s wrong with Windows?

“Windows doesn’t separate the authorities required to install new software from those required just to view attachments; so you can get infected by an executable program when you thought you were looking at a file. That’s because Windows started life as MS-DOS, which was always intended to be a single-user product, not shared among users with different levels of authority over the machine. The antivirus companies couldn’t protect people because in general they can only ward off programs they already know about.” Charles Arthur reports for The Independent.

“At one stage MyDoom-laden viruses made up one in 12 of all e-mails travelling over the internet,” Arthur reports.

“Now, I am certain that I’ve never sent any viruses, because I’m using Mac OSX, and there are no viruses on that platform. So I was confident that I wasn’t a culprit when I e-mailed one site that claimed I had sent it a virus, asking it to stop increasing the amount of pointless e-mail traffic. ‘Your virus software is making the virus problem worse, increasing the e-mail load by sending messages to people who have not sent viruses, because as you know, all mass-mailer worms now spoof the ‘From:’ address,’ I wrote,” Arthur reports.

“I got the reply: ‘IMHO it is better to reply and warn people that they may be virus-infected than to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. If you do not want your e-mail address used as a spoof, educate the people to whom you send e-mails to not run viruses.’ It’s a nice idea that we could stop all our internet neighbours getting virus-infected; the same approach to petty offences in real life would bring the crime rate down to zero overnight. Assuming that it were possible – which it isn’t, in real life or online,” Arthur reports.

“Antivirus companies began appearing in 1986. Windows 3.1 appeared in 1992. The first mass-mailer virus, Melissa, appeared in 1999. Since then viruses have improved hugely, carrying their own e-mail-sending program, able to choose from addresses on the machine. Antivirus products struggle to keep up; Windows struggles to protect you (and it) from yourself (and itself),” Arthur writes.

Full article here.

29 Comments

  1. A good article but I lament the fact the stat that there are over 70,000 Windoze and 0 (zero) Mac OS X viruses to date. This is a stat that every Windoze user should be made aware of. It speaks volumes about how crappily the windoze OS was written (the most recent security hole is due to what is being called a “pathetic” error in coding) and totally deflates any attempt to use the security through obscurity myth.

    Even if it WERE true that Macs were only enjoying security due to obscurity, there still should be at least a few measly viruses out there for it. In fact there should be 3 percent or so of 70,000 at least; so around 2000 Mac OS X viruses should be out there if you look at it statistically. ZERO is just too few (CAN you call a “non” number too few?) for the obscurity myth to hold water.

  2. Oops. The first sentence should have read “A good article but I lament the fact the stat that there are over 70,000 Windoze and 0 (zero) Mac OS X viruses to date WAS LEFT OUT.”

    Sorry.

  3. The way all this works with the Windows drones is simple:

    If you can’t debate with the facts, marginalize the superior platform to minimize the glaring reality that OS X is a far more sophisticated OS than Windows will ever be, and as such, was designed to be more secure from day one.

    As was said, if this ridiculous “Security Through Obscurity” myth had any basis in fact there would be at least a handful of virus infections attempted on the OS by this time.

    Taking down entire newspaper, magazine and multi-media design houses would make a significant impact on the economy. Considering that over 80% of these businesses uses Mac exclusively, one would think someone would have at least tried by now.

    How come no one has? I bet many have tried, but given up when they realized it would be too difficult to bother. Especially when you have that Swiss Cheese of a product called Windows sitting there right next to it with all of its ports open and waiting for your worm. ;o)

  4. “That’s because Windows started life as MS-DOS, which was always intended to be a single-user product”

    Well, the classic Mac OS was single-user as well, and it wasn’t very prone to viruses either. The problem isn’t that Windows comes from DOS (a single-user OS), the problem is that MS doesn’t know the first thing about security. All MS operating systems should be banned from the internet!

  5. Finland guy: This is a Mac site. Disney and Comcast have little to do with Apple. I’ll admit there is a little interest, but perhaps not enough to accuse MDN of sleeping. It wouldn’t surprise me if they passed it over.

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