68,736 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X

“It may or may not surprise you, but there are no OS X viruses (or worms or trojans), partly due to the implementation of OS and its almost-inaccessible Root,” Graham K. Rogers writes for The Bangkok Post. “Most Mac users never need Root access. We use Administrator privileges, and if Root is needed for installation of an application or for alterations to the system — what a virus would need to do — a user must enter a password. This physically and consciously acknowledges an event (and its consequences).”

“Mac naysayers would have us believe there are no viruses because there are so few Macs (this also applies to Linux and Unix platforms), although that could change with the Mac mini,” Rogers writes.

MacDailyNews Note: Rogers really should’ve written “relatively few Macs” above. Many more people use Macs than most people would think, but you need to look at installed base, not quarterly market share to see just how many Macs are really out there. See “More people use Apple Macs than you think; 8-12 percent of homes use Macs.” A quick trip to BoingBoing.net’s publicly-available stats page for a real world example, backs the installed base figures up by revealing an interesting figure: 14.5 % of their visitors so far this month are using Macs.

Rogers continues, “If the numbers of viruses for Windows keeps on growing (as of January this year, there were a total of 68,736 viruses detected, according to Symantec), the Mac may come in for some attention. There is no point spending all your time virus-writing, however, if viruses will not work. The only problem on OS X is from macros with Microsoft products and from mail attachments. These do not harm the Mac environment but may damage a Windows computer if sent. As a normal precaution, I do not open attachments, and trash them instantly.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you haven’t done so already, get a Mac. It’s time. Article highlight: “Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac” – October 08, 2004

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31 Comments

  1. A quick trip to BoingBoing.net’s publicly-available stats page for a real world example, backs the installed base figures up by revealing an interesting figure: 14.5 % of their visitors so far this month are using Macs.

    Yeah, except if you’re going to be touting numbers, how many of those computers are running OS X? Certainly not 100% or a number even close to that. And there are plenty of issues with pre-X Mac OSes

  2. Clark-

    Yeah! I agree. Only American’s who know that they are better than everyone else should be able to write about Apple. Everyone else is just a waste of oxygen.

    *satire*

  3. Cpt. Obvious
    Mar 12, 05 – 11:04 am
    A quick trip to BoingBoing.net’s publicly-available stats page for a real world example, backs the installed base figures up by revealing an interesting figure: 14.5 % of their visitors so far this month are using Macs.

    Yeah, except if you’re going to be touting numbers, how many of those computers are running OS X? Certainly not 100% or a number even close to that. And there are plenty of issues with pre-X Mac OS’s

    If you break out the stats by OS type MAC 14.5% of the total boingboing.net hits Mac OS X 13.1% and Mac OS 1.3% . So of all Mac hits 9.5% are not Mac OS X hits so 90.5% are OSX. Neat I say that the conversion to OSX is almost complete.
    this is the link to the stats break out page
    http://boingboing.net/stats/awstats.boingboing.net.osdetail.html

  4. “………And there are plenty of issues with pre-X Mac OSes…”

    Cpt. Obvious….

    Yeah, but the issures arent viruses or malware…I read somewhere that there are something like 68 (or so) viruses for Classic Macs “in the wild”…. and the last one hasn’t been seen since 1995 (or thereabouts)

    I happen to have a Mac running OS 9.x on my network (online)… and I dont worry about malware attacking it either….

    This is a testament to how well the Mac OS is (now) as far as security goes…. and how well the Mac OS has been in the past…

    Can the same thing be said about the WinDoze platform ??

    uhhh… I think not..

  5. Hmmm, 14.5% on Macs but only 8% on Safari. I wonder how many mac people have their browser “cloaked” to look like they are on a windows machine. I do that sometimes – mostly when a site tells me it won’t work for the Macintosh. The thing is, a LOT of times it DOES work on my Mac – after I set the user agent to IE 6 on Windows.

    MW – worked

  6. This is misleading.
    Technically, a trojan could gain access by prompting a user for an Admin password. Most people would just blindly give their password in order to get a certain piece of software to install…

    How many people actually check the requestor information on the Admin password dialog? And even if they do, and the requestor is unfamiliar (which is often the case) aren’t they inclined to give their password anyway, so that they can install their new fangled extension? (like a cool trackpad scrolling tool or some such)

    This is really not an argument against trojans. Spyware, yes. Trojans no.

  7. “Most people would just blindly give their password in order to get a certain piece of software to install…”

    If someone opens the door for strangers, they deserve what happens. (FWIW, I don’t see why anything besides a system update needs admin access in the first place).

    Mac OS X is secure, but it isn’t stupid-proof. There should be a book “Mac OS X Security for Dummies”. Better yet, Apple should bundle a manual or PDF covering basic security (if they don’t already).

  8. So HOW MUCH LONGER can the press keep harping on the miniscule ‘marketshare’ when CLEARLY the numbers need to be moved up?

    Where exactly? I don’t know, but it sure ain’t 2%.

    Apple or someone needs to do a serious study of ‘marketshare’ and ‘installed base’ or whatever it takes to get the computer buying public even MORE of a comfort factor in buying Apple. And as encouragement to developers to invest time in the Mac platform.

    Everything has POINTED to a larger base of users, but no one wanted to connect the dots.

    More people will buy Mac if they don’t feel as if they are out in the wilderness.

    dv

  9. My anti-virus software for Winbloze is shaking in anger ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool grin” style=”border:0;” />

    … but I’m too stupid to know that something better exists, so I’ll just live with it. Think of all the cool Wal-Mart crap I can buy if I save money by buying a Dell.

    Note: This post is highly sarcastic.

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