Linked by David Adams on Tue 29th Jun 2010 17:18 UTC, submitted by fran
Bugs & Viruses AVG has launched free security software for Mac OS X, which includes tools for Safari and Firefox. AVG's CEO JR Smith, says, "Mac users have traditionally been less vulnerable to attacks because of their lower market share, but that is quickly changing." That's the age-old question of to what extent the scourge of malware on Windows is a symptom of Microsoft's sloppy security decisions vs. due to Windows' popularity and the fact that malware authors can get "more bang for their buck" targeting the most popular platform.
Thread beginning with comment 431950
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
What do you think?
by shashank_hi on Wed 30th Jun 2010 02:07 UTC
shashank_hi
Member since:
2009-08-27

This is more of a question than a comment for this site's audience.

I agree that there is the bang of buck concept with Windows, but Mac users in general have been more affluent. You'd think that since one in 20 users (or 10) buy a mac, one in 20 malwares should be written for OS X. It's quite an unspoiled market after all. But this isn't the case. In fact, Mac malwares are disproportionately few. Does this have something to do with OS X's underlying architecture that makes writing a malware more difficult (not impossible; although Pwn2Own contradicts this)? If malwares for OS X are imminent, would it be better for Apple to write an anti-malware application (similar to Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows)?

Reply Score: 1

RE: What do you think?
by nt_jerkface on Wed 30th Jun 2010 02:52 in reply to "What do you think?"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

You'd think that since one in 20 users (or 10) buy a mac, one in 20 malwares should be written for OS X. It's quite an unspoiled market after all.


That's only for the US and some parts of Europe though.

Windows users are also more likely to have updates turned off which makes them a better target. A big part of this has to do with all the pirated installs.

Malware writers don't even have to look for new exploits in Windows when they can use existing ones. It's not just about market share, there is also the question of how much effort is required to leverage that market share. As I have pointed out before there are plug-n-play hack kits for Windows exploits.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: What do you think?
by lemur2 on Wed 30th Jun 2010 03:25 in reply to "RE: What do you think?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Windows users are also more likely to have updates turned off which makes them a better target. A big part of this has to do with all the pirated installs.


I have also come across a few other attitudes amongst Windows users (other than pirated installs) that may contribute:

(1) Don't turn updates on and don't install WGA because if you do then Microsoft will stop your computer,

(2) Anti-virus is just companies asking you for money for updates over and over again, and anyway it just sits there and does nothing except slow your computer down,

(3) You won't get hit with a virus if you run Firefox, and

(4) Look, a free anti-virus scanner (or whatever) program, just download it from this new flashy website I just found!

Edited 2010-06-30 03:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: What do you think?
by vodoomoth on Wed 30th Jun 2010 12:16 in reply to "RE: What do you think?"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Windows users are also more likely to have updates turned off which makes them a better target. A big part of this has to do with all the pirated installs.

Another mention: I consciously disabled the updates for some time. Because I have a Parrot DS 3120 bluetooth audio system that, as I discovered, can act as a remote control using a certain bluetooth profile. One day in January, my Vista SP1 refused to start: BSOD, reboot, BSOD, etc.

The problem was caused by a driver for the bluetooth remote control profile installed by Windows Update in the automatic install mode. That driver was impossible to remove from the Windows driver cache to the point that I had to reformat the system disk since, as I discovered, some filesystem folders can't be modified even by an admin user. System restoration didn't help: Vista reinstalled the latest drivers from its cache. I recovered the system, turned the wifi connection off before disabling the updates for some time.

There's been at least two other instances in the past six months when Windows Update would have automatically installed driver updates (Realtek Ethernet Gigabit and NVidia card) which, after searching for the appropriate documentation on the web, were not suited to my specific system!

The worst in Windows Update is that such updates come without any documentation about what's new or fixed. Even the links provided in the sidebar lead to a "windows hardware qualification" (or similar, don't remember the exact wording) website which is, quite obviously for affiliated manufacturers or OEMs. Totally useless; that's something that should be copied from the Apple and Linux worlds.

Now, I manually choose all security updates and nothing more.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: What do you think?
by darknexus on Wed 30th Jun 2010 11:32 in reply to "What do you think?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Let's answer a question with a question: What would be better, getting the information for 1/20 users or getting the information for the other 19? Put it another way: Which is more, five people with a thousand dollars or 200 people with 50 dollars?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What do you think?
by vodoomoth on Wed 30th Jun 2010 11:59 in reply to "What do you think?"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Just want to mention that Microsoft Security Essentials is not the exemplary light-on-resources app I heard it was. It ate a good 200 MB on an XP SP3 laptop with 512 MB. I couldn't launch any browser with half a dozen tabs without swapping coming into play. I had to revert to Antivir.
The irony is that most of that memory was used by Windows Defender... which, when uninstalled, prevented MSSE from running.

If Apple come up with something, I hope it'll be better.

Reply Parent Score: 1