On viruses and computer platforms.

Rowan over at Devious Opinions had the following short commentary on the MSBlaster Worm that’s been making the rounds:

Wow… I feel sorry for all those windows users affected by the blaster worm 😀

Another reason to switch.

I just thought I’d point out in a friendly, neighborly way the simple fact that the reason the majority of viruses are written for the Windows operating system is because it is the most popular and wide-spread. It’s not that Linux or the Macintosh are immune to this phenomena (and the Mac has it’s fair share of such already) it’s just the simple fact that there are a great deal more Windows machines out there making for a larger potential return on investment which would be important for programs like MSBlaster that want to use the infected machines to launch denial of service attacks against other machines.

Macs and Linux boxes are relatively free of viruses because of their niche status, but if everyone we’re to take Rowan’s advice and switch then those platforms would become much more attractive to those folks who create these programs and the battle would shift to the new platform.

In short, I would think that folks who use something other than Windows would rather more folks didn’t switch to avoid making their platform of choice a target for the virus writers. Mind you, I’m not huge fan of Windows myself. I refused to let go of my Amigas until 1996 and they’d been a long dead platform by then. The only reason I’m not running Linux right now is because Windows is where the games are at.

So be careful what you wish for, or gloat over…

8 thoughts on “On viruses and computer platforms.

  1. I’ll tell ya what, I really wish 90% of the world would “switch” so that Apple would be the “Great Evil” and then they would get the brunt of all the “Monopoly!” complaints and as you imply, get all the virus attacks! Apple would be blaimed for all the virus’ floating around and would have to consider “forcing” updates on their users!

    Sheesh!

    What I find really amazing is all the Apple people completely forgetting that back when Apple Mac was really big (Mac 128K era), Mac’s were getting twice the number of virus’ that IBM PC’s were. I can remember quite well having to clean many a Mac at the Hospital I worked at due to a virus that spread when a floppy was inserted into the machine. It’s nice that Apple folks can forget so easily…

  2. You are dead right about virus creators, and yes it is all about games.
    Macs maybe nice and have a great OS but they are irrelevant because they have no market share.
    They have no market share because Apple won’t let other create clones.

  3. There are thousands of viruses for windows, yes…but the majority of them, if you notice, are VARIANTS of viruses already out there.
    The very nature of open source software won’t allow a virus to last long at all in the Linux world.
    The code is scrutinized and patched by people who know how to program and spot security holes…that’s why patches for announced severe security risks are available within hours (sometimes minutes).
    “Script Kiddies” don’t know shit…except how to pick items from a drop down menu and fill in forms.
    Microsoft’s methodology of “don’t fix it until they find out about it..then wait a few weeks to do it” is one reason Windows gets socked so many times.

  4. Just a clarification, Apple’s OSX is secure way beyond having a smaller marketshare. It’s more connected to the way Apple ships OSX. If things were reversed, and Apple had 90% and Windows 10%, you’d still see 99% of the Viruses on Windows. The OSes are just BUILT differently, and SHIPPED differently. There is NO way to crack a mac unless you can gain root access, which is impossible the way Apple sells the boxes. OS6,7,8,9 were hackable and that’s why you saw 50 viruses over 15 years. Of course NONE of them caused data loss, but did attach themselves and “could” cause freezing. OSX is a different BEAST, it’s core has been network tested, FAR FAR longer than what MS is able to accomplish. I’ll place bets over the years when OSX has much more marketshare it will remain Virus Free. “The way Windows is designed and delivered is the Problem” not PC’s or Computers in General” If you think I’m wrong, be the FIRST to write a virus for OSX… We’re waiting… ha ha ha!!!

  5. Just a clarification, Apple’s OSX is secure way beyond having a smaller marketshare. It’s more connected to the way Apple ships OSX. If things were reversed, and Apple had 90% and Windows 10%, you’d still see 99% of the Viruses on Windows.

    I disagree. Most virus writers want their work to spread as far and as wide as possible, especially when it’s stuff that acts as a spam bot, and you don’t accomplish that by writing for the minority OSes, you do it by writing for what everyone’s using.

    The OSes are just BUILT differently, and SHIPPED differently. There is NO way to crack a mac unless you can gain root access, which is impossible the way Apple sells the boxes.

    Right, and the Titanic was unsinkable. The people who built it were certain there was no way it could ever possibly sink.

    OS6,7,8,9 were hackable and that’s why you saw 50 viruses over 15 years. Of course NONE of them caused data loss, but did attach themselves and “could” cause freezing.

    I’ve not looked into the history of viruses on the Mac, but I’d be surprised if none of the viruses ever released for it weren’t harmful beyond simple machine freeze ups.

    OSX is a different BEAST, it

  6. The above comments to this post are totally bogus. The poster has no understanding of Unix operation or how Apple ships it’s OS. The bottom line is Marketshare has absoluting NOTHING to do with Virus penetration. Windows is badly constructed, poorly planned and is shipped with many com ports wide open. OSX is nothing like Windows. Norton Anti-Virus is a throwback to the 1980’s, it makes money on people’s fears, nothing more. The above post still wasn’t able to locate “1” OSX virus so my case remains the same. Enable “root” and you may have a story, but that requires PHYSICAL contact with the Machine, thus eliminating “chance replication” of viri, thus eliminating it’s ability to spread. There was nothing on the Security Mac Site that differed with my view. Maybe he should look into the history of Viruses on the Mac and learn why only 50 were ever created and NONE caused damage to data, or files. This is tighter programing folks, we’re not dealing with MS here.

    OSX and Unix system are inherently more secure, because they have been dealing with multiple users an remote access for nearly 35 years, and has had a lot of time to deal with flaws in the system. The Open Source model of development has also helped throw far more man-hours into Unix than Microsoft has been able to with a closed source, and security holes and bug tend to be ripe targets for the community to focus on.

    Windows is therefore inherently less secure for the reasons listed below:

    1: Security of their software was not a significant issue until the popularity of the internet, and the arrival of broadband.

    2: They have not spent nearly the number of development man-hours towards fixing these security issues and developing a secure system that the Unix community has. (Windows NT, the basis for 2000 and XP was started in 1989, and used, at the high-point of Windows 2000, 1400
    programmers and 1700 testers, and this was for merging 9x and NT into Windows 2000)

    3: OLE, VisualBasic, ActiveX controls are the tools of Virus makers, OSX keeps these types of tools seperate by design, thus eliminating doors for script kiddies.

    4: They are attempting to compete with the online usability of Unix, without having it’s history of development to properly secure those “points of entry”

  7. The above comments to this post are totally bogus. The poster has no understanding of Unix operation or how Apple ships it

  8. HEY!

    I have 5, count them, 1,2,3,4,5 C-64’s complete with 1541 floppy drives an a 802, 803 printers, & monitors!  I have over 1,000 old C-64 5 1/4” floppy disk as well.  I think those are 192k each,:-D .

    I even have one with a push-button switch towarm-boot the machine.  wink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.