Want a safer PC?  Dump Windows and get a Mac

“Microsoft on Monday revealed the results of a 15-month test of its Malicious Software Removal Tool. The utility that seeks out and destroys malware reported malicious programs, or bots, on six out of 10 Windows computers it examined,” Jennifer LeClaire reports for TechNewsWorld. “Microsoft made the announcement at the Tech Ed conference in Boston, leaving little doubt that bots are pervasive on the Internet. Bots are automated programs that scan systems and Web sites. Search engine spiders that crawl the Web are good bots, but hackers use this same technology to control PCs so they can spread spam, attack Web sites or steal a victim’s identity. ‘The malware environment out there is worse than most people even dream of,’ Mike Murray, director of vulnerability research for nCircle, told TechNewsWorld. ‘This report underscores the need for people to understand their security and the need for vendors to work towards security as a goal of their product.'”

“Microsoft scanned 5.7 million consumer and small business PCs on which its Malicious Software Removal Tool was installed between January 2005 and March 2006. The results reveal that about 20 percent of the participating PCs had been cleaned, then re-infected, typically with a different kind of bot. In addition, about 35 percent of the bots were installed after victims opened e-mail or IM attachments, or downloaded data files from peer-to-peer networks. The majority of the remaining bots spread without any required action by the victim,” LeClaire reports. “At least one ‘backdoor Trojan,’ a malicious computer code secretly installed onto PCs, was discovered on 3.5 million computers. That’s 62 percent. Most of the backdoor Trojans functioned as bots communicating over a private messaging channel to a remote attacker.”

Full article here.

“The statistics also show how computer worms never really go away. For example, the ‘Blaster worm,’ which first surfaced in August 2003, is still the 10th-most-removed piece of malware, according to Microsoft. Indeed, Redmond found that in about 20 percent of cases where it removed malware in March 2006, the intruder was something the removal tool had previously nixed. The continued high rate of Blaster infections no doubt is due in large part to the number of people who re-install Windows for whatever reason and do not immediately apply security updates or take other precautions necessary for surfing the Internet with a Windows machine, such as using firewall and anti-virus software,” Brian Krebs writes for The Washington Post.

Full article here.

By the end of 2005, there were 114,000 known viruses for PCs. In March 2006 alone, there were 850 new threats detected against Windows. Zero for Mac. While no computer connected to the Internet will ever be 100% immune from attack, Mac OS X has helped the Mac keep its clean bill of health with a superior UNIX foundation and security features that go above and beyond the norm for PCs. When you get a Mac, only your enthusiasm is contagious.

Connecting a PC to the Internet using factory settings is like leaving your front door wide open with your valuables out on the coffee table. A Mac, on the other hand, shuts and locks the door, hides the key, and stores your valuables in a safe with a combination known only to you. You have to buy, configure, and maintain such basic protection on a PC.

On a Windows PC, software (both good and evil) can change the system without your even knowing about it. In order for software to significantly modify Mac OS X, you have to type in your password. You’re the decider. You approve changes to your system.

People attempting to break into computers may disguise a malicious program as a picture, movie, or other seemingly harmless file. You might download such files from the Web, or get them via mail or chat. A PC just blindly downloads them without a peep. A Mac, however, will let you know that you may be getting a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Mac web browser, Safari, can tell the difference between a file and a program, and alerts you whenever you’re downloading the latter.

A Mac gets much of this out-of-the-box protection from its open source UNIX heritage. The most critical components of Mac OS X are open for review by a worldwide community of security experts. Their input helps Apple continually make Mac OS X ever more secure. And it’s simple to update a Mac with the latest advances. By default, a Mac checks for updates weekly. For pure peace of mind, you can set a Mac to download security updates automatically. Apple digitally signs the updates, so you can be sure they come from a trusted source.

To get a sense of just how big the virus problem is, search for “virus” at both Apple and Microsoft. Compare the number of results. What’s more, the 100 most virulent attacks cause 99.9% of damage from malicious software. None of these attacks work on a Mac. Don’t you deserve such protection?

More info: 114,000 viruses? Not on a Mac.

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Related articles:
Microsoft hides fact that ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’ antipiracy spyware phones home every boot up – June 09, 2006
Apple: ‘Get a Mac. Say ‘Buh-Bye’ to viruses’ – June 01, 2006
Mafiasoft launches Windows protection racket – May 31, 2006
Apple Boot Camp’s ‘Windows Insecurity Blanket’ helps buyers decide to switch to Macs – May 19, 2006
Microsoft: recovery from Windows malware becoming impossible; better to to wipe and rebuild – April 04, 2006
FBI: Viruses, spyware, other computer-related crimes cost U.S. businesses $67.2 billion per year – February 01, 2006
Tech writer: ‘virus-and-spyware-prone Windows isn’t the way to go – get a Mac’ – January 31, 2006
eWeek: Intel transition a ‘security non-issue’ for Apple Mac – January 30, 2006
Microsoft Windows virus spreads rapidly; Apple Macintosh unaffected – November 28, 2005
Microsoft apologists and why Apple’s Mac OS X has zero viruses – October 24, 2005
How to avoid viruses and malware? Dump your Windows PC and get an Apple Macintosh – August 22, 2005
ZDNet: How many Mac OS X users affected by the last 100 viruses? None, zero, not one, not ever – August 18, 2005
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005
97,467 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – April 05, 2005
68,736 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – March 12, 2005

91 Comments

  1. Why am I not surprised? I wonder why people put up with that crap? One wouldn’t accept those kinds of numbers from any other industry. It’s like people turn off their brains when it comes to computing/computers.

  2. This is all good. Now if we can get Steve to quit releasing Apple products before they are ready….

    i.e., MacBooks that double as space heaters, whine and moo, and made of inferior plastic that rapidly deteriortes and turns your shiny white laptop to ugly yellow.

    If Steve doesn’t fix these issues the emerging opportunity to significantly cut into M$soft will be lost forever!

  3. I’m in my Applications folder on my Mac and I can’t find the “Malicious Software Removal Tool”. I checked the Utilities folder also. Nor is it in System Preferences. Is it a unix commandline only thing??

    I’m running Tiger. Please help!!

  4. JadisOne….you hit the nail on the head. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!

    Even if they have no interest in switching to Mac, why on earth aren’t millions screaming and rioting and suing Microsoft? Oh, that’s right, they shut off their brain.

  5. Just goes to show that when a Windows fanboy comes out of the woodwork and says that he’s never had a trojan, virus or spyware, we can say to him, “how do you know for sure?”

    Even the best anti-virus/spyware/trojan application doesn’t get them all, there could still be one lurking on your hard drive, hiding itself, and reinstalling itself when needed.

    I know of a friend who bought a bargain basement PC for his step-son, only to have to throw it away (literally) after 6-12 months because it became unusable, because of all the unknown malware slowing it down.

    Taking it back to where he bought it (twice) to get it fixed, they tried to sell him some different anti-everything software, (replacing what came bundled with the PC). In the end he bought a new PC (with a different anti-everything subscription) for his step-son and a iBook for himself – (under my persuasion).

    If people are simply buying a new Windows PC because their old one is simply gummed-up with malware after 6-12 months, this makes the PC to Mac market share numbers look a bit suspect doesn’t it?

    And to revisit a previous (misconstrued) post, any Windows fanboy stating that if he’s not clever enough to know how to protect his PC, then he doesn’t deserve to have one, then they are really missing the point.

    I have a Mac because I want to get work done, I shouldn’t have to spend time babysitting it, telling it not to install that application that just appeared off the internet without my permission.

  6. To many people, the ‘just good enough’ solution will always be the more attractive one when it comes down to perceived price. There is also the ‘me too’ factor. People figure if everyone is doing it, then they should to, or they shall be branded as outcasts.

    Just a couple reasons why people continue to fly into the flame known as Windows.

  7. Microsoft is the number one reason Windows users have switched to Macs. I once worked at an Apple store and can tell you that 50%+ of the Macs I sold were to people sick and tired of Windows issues. Viruses, re-installing the OS, protection software unable to predict future viruses so what good is it, on and on.

    Once Adobe hits the streets with native Intel softwae for OS X, the graphic-laden Mac base of buying will kick in. Add this to the group of Windows users, and Apple will get back to their run of more market share.

    Yellow MacBooks? Apple stores have more people playing with these laptops than anyone anywhere. They look just fine.

    Try washing your hands after changing the motor oil before diving in on the MacBook – it does wonders.

  8. – The majority of the remaining bots spread without any required action by the victim –

    OK, you know my feelings on Vista, but I’m not feeling like waiting for it anymore. The more I know about winXP the more it scares me onto a Mac. I just don’t feel like learning something new tho.

  9. Anecdotal evidence aside, the stories told here and on other Apple Pumping Boards do not translate into any significant gains for Apple in market share.

    Vista is going to address most of the criticisms expressed here regarding important system files being changed without the users knowledge.If it’s a locked down as some beta testers have suggested, I can’t see what your complaint is.

  10. Right before my eighth regeneration, I finally deleted windows and installed Tiger on the Tardis. In case you’ve been keeping up, that’s why it doesn’t break down and malfunction like it used to.

    It was a real pain in the arse before I switched. I’d get the blue screen of death and always end up in Cleveland in the 1970’s.

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