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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #1
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Exclamation PC Virus...

I was just reading in the Toronto Star about a virus affecting the PC world. The say "It's being called the worst computer worm of the year ".

The best part of the article was the end. It's not a surprise to anyone here but it said...
" Sober is known to only affect computers with the Windows operating system. It appears that Apple and Linux computer users were not affected."

Except those who have no choice (ie: in the workplace), it seems silly that so many people just put up with that stuff.

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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #2
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Agreed, but a big part of those users are tech-ignorants. (I'm not bashing them, but that's what they are). Gamers, everyday people, most of them use PCs with Windows and never consider switching mostly because they think that computers have viruses and crashes and that's normal stuff.

I switched because I love technology and I'm interested into it, so I want tools who works! My iPod and my dear Mac are the complete solution.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #3
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OMG! not another virus discussion thread

Please remember that the primary reason OS X is less impacted is because there aren't enough users on Apple computers to make it worthwhile for virus developers to exploit security vulnerabilities.

There's little that's intrinsically different in UNIX that will save your ass if someone decides to exploit its many vulnerabilities - more so, given that a majority of OSX users probably run under admin ids anyway.

Just a brief sample: http://secunia.com/product/96/

Anyway, its a catch 22 - if apparent invulnerability drives up OSX popularity, it will result in more viruses on OSX. So from that respect, we're better off being a smaller community.

Do you truly believe that Microsoft employs incompetent developers? Some of the best software engineering minds I know work there - Microsoft isn't shy about paying the big bucks to get the best and they're not holding back on beefing up the security aspects of their OS or popular programs. That's one of their hottest items and high on everyone's priority list.

Yes, today we enjoy a practical advantage in this space over MS users.
But there's no magic here - and not much benefit in MS bashing.
Encourage people to move to Apple by all means - don't expect however that it'll be the final word in a painless, secure existence.

The success of MS is not because the world is full of technically ignorant morons but because they were able to capitalize on a vision that both IBM and Apple lacked or failed to execute successfully.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 02:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RISCHead
OMG! not another virus discussion thread

Please remember that the primary reason OS X is less impacted is because there aren't enough users on Apple computers to make it worthwhile for virus developers to exploit security vulnerabilities.
Bollocks. There are millions of Mac OS X users. The reason there are no Mac OS X viruses is because of the better security that comes with it. Sorry, I don't buy the security through obscurity myth.

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Originally Posted by RISCHead
Do you truly believe that Microsoft employs incompetent developers? Some of the best software engineering minds I know work there - Microsoft isn't shy about paying the big bucks to get the best and they're not holding back on beefing up the security aspects of their OS or popular programs. That's one of their hottest items and high on everyone's priority list.
No I know they push products out the door before they're ready (Windows ME anyone?) I also believe they publish software that's fatally flawed so they can benefit from service contracts. They are also branched out into the "protection" racket now with anti-virus and anti-malware "solutions"

I'm not going to go into why MS "won" the OS wars because they aren't over, not by a long shot. MS is running out of steam faster than Michael Jackson is running out of money and friends.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 03:37 PM   #5
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Another thing to keep in mind: the "traditional media" seem to blow these things way out of proportion, ever since it was shown in several major studies that the internet was eating into people's TV-watching and newspaper-reading time.

These stories come along on a fairly regular basis, but for all the hype I almost never see a "live" virus anywhere near my (or my employer's) PCs. Our virus protection is where it should be: on the mail server. I don't run any security software on my own PCs, and I use my AirPort Extreme as a hardware firewall.

That said, every virus of the past couple of years that I HAVE seen has required the recipient to manually open an attachment from a very suspicious-looking email. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows to give it a pass, but unfortunately common sense isn't as common as you'd think. So I do end up cleaning other folks' computers on occasion. Inevitably, they never remember doing the following: 1) Viewing a suspicious message. 2) Double-clicking to open the attachment to the message. 3) Clicking Run to run the attachment. And 4) Clicking Yes to the security warning dialog box that inevitably appears. Viruses that take advantage of exploitable flaws in IE/Outlook Express/Outlook have ALWAYS appeared weeks or even months after the relevant fix has been made widely (and automatically) available.

The fact is, the people most prone to virus infections are the ones who don't read messages that appear on their screen, even when accompanied by a big exclamation point or stop sign, and/or those who ignore the "updates are ready to be installed on your computer" flag because--interestingly--they think that they're put up by a virus.

Yes, unpatched Windows PCs are prone to attack. But that can be resolved in minutes with a visit to Windows Update.

In my relatively short time as a Mac user (along with my PCs), here's a pair of generalizations I feel safe making. First, most Mac users I've known are more computer-savvy than the typical PC user. This seems odd, and I think it's a result of preferring an "underdog" computer and wanting to really get the most out of it.

Second, most PC users these days aren't computer buffs. They don't want to know anything at all about how or why their computer does what it does--they just want to get the job done and go home. Microsoft has catered to these folks by giving them (as I always tell the students in my college classes) at least three different ways to do the same task--the theory being that you're bound to remember one of them. Unfortunately, as pointed out above, Microsoft has a lot of smart people who DO know about computers, and I think there's a clear disconnect between them and the marketing department that's selling productivity tools rather than operating systems.

PC users who understand how their computers work are no more prone to virus attacks than are Mac users. May not be a popular view around here, but it's true.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBiBooker
Bollocks. There are millions of Mac OS X users. The reason there are no Mac OS X viruses is because of the better security that comes with it. Sorry, I don't buy the security through obscurity myth.


No I know they push products out the door before they're ready (Windows ME anyone?) I also believe they publish software that's fatally flawed so they can benefit from service contracts. They are also branched out into the "protection" racket now with anti-virus and anti-malware "solutions"

I'm not going to go into why MS "won" the OS wars because they aren't over, not by a long shot. MS is running out of steam faster than Michael Jackson is running out of money and friends.
I have to agree. I'm sure there's more than one out there who'd be more than pleased to wipe our smug mac faces off with at least one good virus.

I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's been years since OS X was out and so far not one?



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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 03:48 PM   #7
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Just looked at Symantec's info page on Sober. Check it out here. You'll see that:

1. To be infected, you must manually run an email attachment.
2. The message text is suspicious in the extreme.

Were someone to write a virus like this for the Mac, the only appreciable difference would be that the user would be asked to type his/her password when executing the attachment. And in all likelihood, the kind of user that's dense enough to fall for this on the PC would probably go right ahead and type the password without thinking about it for a second. And then, the program would have essentially free reign.

Why hasn't this happened yet? Maybe it's because Apple doesn't inspire the overblown sense of hatred in certain circles that MS does.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 03:49 PM   #8
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These stories come along on a fairly regular basis, but for all the hype I almost never see a "live" virus anywhere near my (or my employer's) PCs. Our virus protection is where it should be: on the mail server. I don't run any security software on my own PCs, and I use my AirPort Extreme as a hardware firewall.
And if you believe that you're that safe because of this I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you too :P

I agree on the minority statement rischead ... we are still small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, with or without "millions" of users. Another point is that a lot of this stuff is targeted at windows because all the additional things that hackers want to do run on windows already. They have their zombie control software and smtp agents and who wants to rewrite them :P Also a lot of other things that hackers may be after are business related and a vast majority of businesses run windows.

For _now_ OSX is a small target. It's not the inherent safety of Unix protecting us .. in fact educated hackers would have an easier time as most of the lower level stuff is built from freely available source, which in the end makes linux/BSD/OSX an easier target to find holes in.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 03:53 PM   #9
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And if you believe that you're that safe because of this I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you too :P
Rest assured that I'm not complacent about this stuff; I do run antivirus on my email server and it intercepts things on occasion. All I'm saying is that it's not rocket science to avoid this stuff. The last time I had a "real" virus infection was after sharing some floppies at an Amiga convention in 1988.
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Old Nov 24th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #10
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Rest assured that I'm not complacent about this stuff; I do run antivirus on my email server and it intercepts things on occasion. All I'm saying is that it's not rocket science to avoid this stuff. The last time I had a "real" virus infection was after sharing some floppies at an Amiga convention in 1988.
Right, but what about all the things that don't come in email? That is but one transport mechanism
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