Author Topic: Smart about malware  (Read 1246 times)


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Smart about malware
« on: 12 June 2009, 01:25 »
I was just reading this old article from January 09:

It's the usual spiel - "no point in getting anti-virus software for your Mac."  As per usual with Roughly Drafted, the author left out an important point.  The context for the article was an article in the Register about a trojan that was being distributed with pirate copies of iWork.  The Register article took this as a sign of the apocalypse, and warned all Mac users to get ready for the flood of viruses and spywarez that will be arriving any moment.

One of the things that the RD author takes issue with is the lumping of trojans in with other worms and viruses.  Viruses get onto your computer by sneaking in through a security loophole, whereas trojans are given system access by explicit permission - usually by being installed along with another program.  Which is an important distinction, but a deceptive one.  Because the article is about anti-virus software.  Since OSX doesn't get viruses, there is no need for anti-virus software.  Trojans aren't viruses, so the principal supposition holds.

The inherent logic error becomes clear when you remember that Norton and McAfee and others not only recognize viruses - they recognize trojans as well.  This changes the argument somewhat.

Of course, a single OSX trojan is still no excuse to install anti-virus software on a Mac.  Most anti-virus software is even less secure than the operating system it protects, and the system overhead for real-time virus protection is ridiculous.  Then again, a live trojan isn't something to laugh off, either.


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Re: Smart about malware
« Reply #1 on: 13 June 2009, 03:02 »
I've seen how slow Macs are with Norton, but if you receive and send MS office suite documents then it's the polite thing to do.

The common porn fake codec trojan causes more trouble for Tiger than Leo, because of the networking upgrades in Leo. In Tiger you couldn't even see it running except that you would keep getting sent to places you probably didn't want to go.

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Re: Smart about malware
« Reply #2 on: 13 June 2009, 08:17 »
Its all about smart browsing. Of the computers I have that do run windows - only the ones other people use have an anti virus software on them. I don't even bother on my personal computer, because I'm not one of those people who uses limewire and clicks on "Click here for 10,000 free MP3S!" garbage. Usually after a few months I'll break down and install an anti-virus software, only to have everything check out clean.

I think it is important though, whether you use *nix, Windows, OS X, whatever, is don't get a sense that you are invulnerable to any/every kind of virus/malware, because you'll let your guard down and then end up download and installing something like that hacked iWork