Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Jan 2006 11:28 UTC
Apple When Apple introduced the latest incarnation of its iMac G5 product line, the reactions were almost exclusively those of praise. They had managed to make the iMac G5 even thinner, while at the same time upgrading its specifications. Apple also introduced Front Row, a remote control, and a built-in iSight camera. MacSupport was so kind as to provide OSNews with this new iMac G5; here are our findings.
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wilburpan
Member since:
2005-08-09

One thing that never gets mentioned in cost comparisons between Macs and Windows machines is the fact that Windows boxes need antivirus protection. For the major antivirus program publishers, this requires an annual subscription fee at some point. For example, Norton Antivirus provides virus updates for 12 months -- after that, you have to pay a subscription fee of $30/year. If you keep your computer for 3 years, that adds at least $60 to the price. More, if an antivirus isn't included with your computer and you have to buy an antivirus program in the first place.

Compare that to the Mac: because of OS X's Unix underpinnings, viruses are much much much less of an issue. I may be foolish, but my Mac has been connected to the internet via a broad band connection since Feb 2002 and I have never gotten a virus. Thus, I don't have to spend extra money on antivirus software.

I know that someone will bring up the "security by obscurity" argument, but (1) it seems that even security researchers have not come up with many OS X viruses with an equal threat level to the more malignant Windows viruses, and (2) I can't believe there isn't some hacker out there that wouldn't love to have the "First one to infect OS X" title.

Reply Score: 2

jtrapp Member since:
2005-07-06

One thing that never gets mentioned in cost comparisons between Macs and Windows machines is the fact that Windows boxes need antivirus protection.

Where have you been?

For a home machine (non-business use) quality security software can be had for free.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Wintermute Member since:
2005-07-30

Why choose the extreme? There is lots of free anti-virus software. No one forces you to buy Norton. And its not too hard to keep Windows secure. Keep everything up to date, use something like SpyBot S&D and Firefox with NoScript extension. If you are lazy to do all this, then pay for Norton, but don't say that Norton is a must and don't add it to the price of using windows.

One exmaple doesn't mean anything really (not saying that all Mac users except you have viruses, just showing a whole in your arguement). For instance, I haven't had a virus since 1998. And use everything a normal windows user would use: IM, email, web browsing, P2P.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Get a Life Member since:
2006-01-01

NT's security model is actually quite sophisticated. It is not the security model of UNIX that provides the low incidence-rate. It is a combination of platform obscurity, and application integration with the security policy. Those that use administrator accounts on NT, often do so because they happen to make use of software that is poorly-designed. The remainder of problems that would manifest even with the basic file permission safety from not using administrator accounts (disregarding of course the more powerful aspects of NT's security model permitting other forms of access-control) would manifest anyway because Windows is ubiquitous. They are endemic of social problems, and buggy software.

As has been stated before, there are numerous anti-virus programs that are obtainable for free.

As for the technical possibility of writing a virus for OS X, I do not understand what you think the problem is. You can modify binaries that you have permission to access, and can do so in such a way as to be self-replicating by modifying accessible executables to be just that. You can go the extra mile and include a barrage of checks and attempts to exploit flaws in other software as a means of extending the range of influence if you really want.

Now that you have lots of executables modified to spread your wicked virus of doom, you're going to have to spread it. If there are few carriers, they are far between, and not prone to distributing executables to each other, this won't spread very quickly if at all. Even modern software-piracy conspires against the would-be Photoshop-infector, as P2P programs provide superior speeds for the 200 copies of an uninfected Photoshop to the single copy provided by you.

Reply Parent Score: 1

wilburpan Member since:
2005-08-09

"As for the technical possibility of writing a virus for OS X, I do not understand what you think the problem is. You can modify binaries that you have permission to access, and can do so in such a way as to be self-replicating...."

Which still begs the question, why hasn't someone done this already?

Again, I can't believe there isn't some hacker out there that wouldn't want the title of "Writer of the First Mac Virus".

That's why I think there is a problem. If it was a trivial exercise, then it would have already been done.

Reply Parent Score: 1

crystalattice Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree. Regardless of whether you can get AV software for free, people still don't know how to use them. I used Windows for 14 years and never got a virus, i.e. my virus checker never found anything on my computer. I did detect several viruses received from work through emails or floppies, but nothing that was my fault.

Most people I talk to know they need AV software (and maybe anti-spyware) but they usually just buy it. So having free software available usually only applies to the more computer-savvy types, who are also more likely to take precautions against malware.

I was in Best Buy yesterday and realized how much money I've saved since I moved to Mac and Linux. I don't need AV software, don't need anti-spyware, don't need Norton Systemworks or other maintenance suite, don't need a firewall, etc. All of this is either included w/ the OS or simply not required.

Granted, "smart" people don't need these apps or can find them for free, but the average user (in my experience) is willing to pay $100's on boxed software. They won't look at software reviews and aren't interested in alternatives. It's just like people looking for the Intel logo; you might find something better, cheaper, or fits your requirements better, but if it's not "brand-name" then it's not an option.

Reply Parent Score: 2