MAC vs. PC

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Big Bad Bill
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#16 Post by Big Bad Bill » Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:04 am

I think we have the definitive answer there, and from an expert.

Cheers Fyrie!

Just a question-where are these viruses coming from and why are they aimed at mainly PCs?

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#17 Post by BadHorsie0312 » Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:15 pm

i read that windows is an "open door" for viruses bc of the way it was designed.

mac is a complex system base, or a well thought out one at that and it rarely gets the spyware/viruses a pc does.

but im not sure if thats correct, so if its not correct me please :lol:

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#18 Post by brainpolice » Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:44 pm

Correction: The internet itself is an open door for viruses.

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#19 Post by realgreenfire » Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:51 pm

you are partialy right in saying that windows is an open door to viruses, yes that part is correct, but the second part is not true, mac operaitng systems almost never get viruses because most of the wide spread viruses are made for pc NOT mac, so yes mac's are less likely to get a virus (i got a imac 4 years ago and not one virus, my pc........ well 5 or 6 in 3 years) so i guess u could say that macs are more complex but its like having mad cow disease, it just doesnt happen to humans, the viruses nock on the door but they dont get an answer so they go to the next door

steve

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#20 Post by jmchambers5 » Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:03 pm

A virus will either work on PC or Mac. Not both.

If you were writing a virus and wanted it to affect more people, which would you write it for?

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#21 Post by fyrie » Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:56 pm

Most viruses are written for Windows simply because it is on 90% or more of all desktops. It's simply a matter of more bang for the buck. It is true to say that windows is inherently less secure than other operating systems, but how much this is a factor is a little foggy. For example, by default a user can install whatever they want on an XP system. When they get an infected attachment in an email and they click on it, that user has basically told the operating system “I have the right to tell to you install this virus, so do it.” With your average Linux distribution (not all) on the other hand, by default users cannot install software so it's more difficult for virus writers to trick you into installing the virus. However, what's causing the computer to become infected with the virus is the user clicking on something that they shouldn't. This is called “Social Engineering”. They basically trick the user into installing the virus or spyware. A good example of this is when you go to a website and a popup comes up and says something like “Warning! Your computer has illegal files one it. Click here to remove them.” The user clicks and becomes infected.

Another example of social engineering are “phishing” attacks. An example of this is when a person gets an email that looks like it is from his/her credit card company or PayPal that says something like: “You need to update your password” and provides a link that appears to be the actual credit card company's website. When they click on the link it actually takes them to a different site that may look exactly like their credit card company's site, however it is really a copy. The user cannot tell they are at the wrong site because the hackers have used a vulnerability in the browser which will display the faked website URL in the address bar and the task bar. The user then uses his/her old password to create the new password, and the hackers have their username/password. This type of attack exploits vulnerabilities in the software regardless of the platform. In the past you were safe if you didn't use Internet Explorer, but as recently as this week there have been vulnerabilities discovered in other browsers such as Mozilla/Firefox (which I use). There was one this week that affects everything BUT Internet Explorer.

Then there are the worms. Worms are kind of like a virus, but they are self perpetuating without user interaction. One computer running SqlServer database gets infected and then it probes the Internet for other computers running SqlServer to infect. A firewall will shield you from the probing. Worms usually exploit the security of the software, not the Operating System. By default the firewall on Windows XP will protect a system from this sort of attack.

Then there are other cross platform viruses. These are viruses that exploit vulnerabilities in applications that run on Mac, XP, and Linux, etc... Within the past couple of years there have been viruses that can infect your computer because of security flaws in Java, Flash, Shockwave etc... which run on all of the above.

Bottom line, you are not safe anywhere. Net smarts are the new street smarts.

One thing I failed to point out before. I am not 100% sure, but I think with pro-tools some of the high-end hardware is only mac compatible. So, if you are like Vai and have eight Terra bytes of video footage to edit using pro-tools, Mac might have a clear advantage. The pedestrian pro tools hardware (the m-box etc...) is equal on PC and Mac.

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#22 Post by Big Bad Bill » Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:04 am

All very scary stuff-especially that viruses are maliciously and purposefully written by people with a grudge against PCs and Microsoft! I wonder what computers they use..........?

OK then Fyrie, what can somebody like me with minimal computer expertise, (who uses computers merely as a tool to do the boring reptitive stuff in their lives and thus freeing our time to play guitar !) do both behaviourly and in terms of software, to make our systems safer?

This may appear to be off topic, by I store my original compositions on my PC and I don't want to lose them (they are back up of course!)

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#23 Post by fyrie » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:20 pm

1. Keep windows up to date using the windows update feature. Better yet, set your computer to automatically check for updates and install them.

2. Use a firewall program. Windows XP has one built in that works great.

3. Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date.

4. use lavasoft's adaware and spybot search and destroy. Both of these programs are free, so I don't think I am violating the forums rules by posting links. http://www.lavasoft.com/ http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

Better yet, if you have XP, use the beta of the new microsoft anti-spyware program. http://www.microsoft.com/athome/securit ... fault.mspx

5. Never click on any attachment unless you know that it is safe. A lot of viruses will use a person's contact list and send all of their buddies the virus, so you can't trust something just because it's from a familiar email address.

6. Don't click on web browser popups that claim that something is wrong with your computer.

7. If you get an email from any bank, credit card company, ebay, paypall etc... do not use the links provided in the email. Manually type them in your browser, or cut'n'paste the url into your browser.

Hope that helps!

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#24 Post by Adriano » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:58 pm

...the heavy life of a WIN user.... :lol:

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#25 Post by Jeroen » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:16 pm

fyrie wrote: A firewall will shield you from the probing.
I think this shows the concept of current security flaws nicely.

A firewall is not, and will never be the end-all solution for security problems. If there is a vulnerability within a service that is allowed to be accessed (IIS anyone?) then your firewall won't help you a bit.
Secondly, you need a properly configured firewall and the out-of-the-box XP firewall (hardly deserving of the name, it's more like a glorified port filter) won't just cut it.
Worms usually exploit the security of the software, not the Operating System. By default the firewall on Windows XP will protect a system from this sort of attack.


It's a matter of time beofre another Nimda worm appears. @mm. worms won't be bothered by that firewall either, because it only catches incomming traffic. Any executed mm worm can mail freely with their own little SMTP engine.
Then there are other cross platform viruses. These are viruses that exploit vulnerabilities in applications that run on Mac, XP, and Linux, etc... Within the past couple of years there have been viruses that can infect your computer because of security flaws in Java, Flash, Shockwave etc... which run on all of the above.


These are quite rare and usually not very harmful. A nice example of a *nix worm would be the recent one that infiltrated phpBB forums, the one that killed Jemsite.com. A flaw in one of the software functions allowed remote execution of malicious code. The code usually runs with the user rights of the host application which it exploited (hence MS insecurity were evertyhing runs as 'Administrator'). On *nix, the Apache Webserver which has the php component, runs as Root (because root is only allowed to use TCP ports below 1024, that's actually pretty good security). Anyway, the result is that the application gets exploited, installs a 'Rootkit' which goes hunting for other exploitable systems. Typically these rootkits are nasty. They usually have several components, one that gives Joe Cracker a free passwordless shell option on a pre-set port, it hides it's process by modifying several binaries on the system (ps, top etc)..
There have been loads of these, usually attacking ftp, ssh and apache.

Bottom line, you are not safe anywhere. Net smarts are the new street smarts.
That's so true.

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#26 Post by Jeroen » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:27 pm

fyrie wrote:1. Keep windows up to date using the windows update feature. Better yet, set your computer to automatically check for updates and install them.
I would advice against auto-updates because of the history of patches that borked shit up :)
2. Use a firewall program. Windows XP has one built in that works great.
Use a stand alone, packet-inspecting stateful firewall with IDS and good logging options. (I know this is expensive and requires a certain working knowledge, but it all comes down on how much you have to protect and what it's worth to you to protect that.)
The main reason you don't want the fw on your own PC is that it can be disbled without you knowing it by any future virus/worm etc.

3. Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date.
Hell yeah!
4. use lavasoft's adaware and spybot search and destroy. Both of these programs are free, so I don't think I am violating the forums rules by posting links. http://www.lavasoft.com/ http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

Better yet, if you have XP, use the beta of the new microsoft anti-spyware program. http://www.microsoft.com/athome/securit ... fault.mspx
I don't have any experience with this one yet, but common sense tells me that MS should be working on the spyware/malware problem from a diffrent angle, not by making removal tools.....
5. Never click on any attachment unless you know that it is safe. A lot of viruses will use a person's contact list and send all of their buddies the virus, so you can't trust something just because it's from a familiar email address.
Yes...!
6. Don't click on web browser popups that claim that something is wrong with your computer.
Better yet, block popups.
7. If you get an email from any bank, credit card company, ebay, paypall etc... do not use the links provided in the email. Manually type them in your browser, or cut'n'paste the url into your browser.
Hope that helps!
Disregards those mails all together, unless you are expecting one (won an auction, payed something with paypall, etc.).

A few more:

Don't use IE, use Mozilla or Firefox (or whatever else you like). Using IE is one of the major issues of spyware infections. Say after me: ActiveX sux!

Disable Javascript, Java and ActiveX if you must use IE.

Don't use the administrator account on Windows platforms.

Use your head... :) (No bank will email you for your account details, Mr uhurbuhuru from Nigeria really doesn't have 23 M dollars he want's to park on your bank account...etc etc. )


Regarding Mac vs PC: I've used PC's since I can remember and Mac systems only for a minimal ammount of time -I've only played with it for a bit-. My next machine will be a Mac, most defenitly. I love OSX, it has the userfriendlyness of Windows but with the power of FreeBSD (and it's security).

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#27 Post by fyrie » Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:29 am

Jeroen,

Nice posts and I agree with your points except:

Doesn't the XP firewall protect you from incoming port 80 for IIS and the standard Sql Server ports out of the box? I was under the impression that it did. If not, my bad. I'm thinking for sure it does after XP SP2.

The other thing I take issue with is not doing the auto update. I personally don't do the auto update for the exact reason that you state, but take my dad for example, or any other average user. They aren't following this type of thing, and the % of patches on the % of systems they screw up is so low that I don't see it as outweighing the risk of getting a virus by not patching.

I hear what you are saying about how Microsoft should be addressing spyware/malware in a different way, but the fact is they aren't going to. Bill Gates has much as said - if the threat gets to your computer, that is the problem. Hence they are developing the adaptive/auto updating firewall and spyware programs. He may not be all wrong tho. Malicious software will surely develop faster than an OS can, and locking down user rights still doesn't mean much in the case of buffer overflow exploits.

I agree - don't use IE. I don't. I use Firefox, but it's very slowly becoming a false sense of security. The Firefox/Mozilla extension framework is already becoming exploitable. Phishing exploits and image overflow exploits becoming common.

Block Popups! yes! I forgot that one, although that idea is becoming antiquated since both IE and FF do that now by default.

It's kind of a sad state of things when you look at all we have been talking about isn't it? But as you said - "use your head". When a person steps outside of their door every day, they are facing a multitude more of malicious possibilities. However we all use our brain to stay safe.

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#28 Post by DemerzelTarquin » Wed Feb 23, 2005 3:07 pm

PC's are awesome for multiple reasons, but MAC's have a more fluent and efficient and less space consuming operating system

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#29 Post by fyrie » Wed Feb 23, 2005 9:05 pm

:roll:

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#30 Post by guyver_dio » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:57 pm

I find PC's are better.

The Majority of applications run in windows so there's no hassle of making sure the programs can run on the system.

I also go to alot of LAN's and play games over the network so I find PC's the best for this type of use, I've yet to see a Mac user attend a LAN.

PC's are far more easier to upgrade and change parts ect. I have not seen any computer part site or store that has stocked parts for Mac's.

As for viruses, I only have norton Antivirus 2005 and Ad-aware running and every virus that i have encountered has been blocked or repaired by these programs immediately. Plus Windows and Symantec are constantly bringing out updates so it's now very easier to avoid an attack. Plus I have encountered viruses before and are very easy to fix yourself, by either downloading a repair tool for that particular virus or what i like to do is reformatt the PC. Reformatting fixes any problems you might have and is even suggested to do this every 6 months or so to keep your system clean and bug free. if worst comes to worst and a virus has destroyed your computer, than you only need to replace the harddrives which is really cheap.

And I've also witnessed programs crashing on Mac's so Mac's can be just as unstable as a PC.

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