Are Macs less secure than Windows 10 machines?

Johnny5

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For the longest time everyone thought Macs were more secure than Windows. Back in 2004, when I was rocking a Macbook Pro, I didn't even think to install any antivirus or security software. It seems like that myth has persevered as Apple still doesn't even offer built in malware scanners like Windows.

Are Windows systems infected, just because there are more of them? Is OS X truly more secure?

 

captaincharisma

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there are more viruses craeted for windows because it is popular and is used by almost every business and government. OSX is a bit more secure but there are a growing number of viruses and malware appearing that infect it. anyone who thinks macs do not get viruses are clueless
 

the great randini

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any product that has a small market share will be more secure, because there is less incentive to develop for that platform. but as we have seen over the last year there are malware variants and even cryptoware for mac, since most people who own them have disposable income to steal.


free av for mac https://home.sophos.com/mac

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2017/06/15/more-mac-ransomware-666-and-7-days-to-pay/


 

g-unit1111

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I think the fact that Apple keeps feeding this myth that Macs are less likely to get viruses would in general make Macs less safe than Windows. Which in and of itself is false advertising. Because there's no machine out there that's completely immune from viruses. To trick your customers into thinking that you are completely immune from catching a virus if you use X operating system is wrong, and that's one thing that absolutely infuriates me about Apple. Mac OS X can get viruses, and so can iOS. But Apple keeps feeding this myth that they don't - despite that they have two of the most used operating systems out there. And that confuses their customers. If your system is connected to a network, it has a huge increased probability of catching a virus, no matter what operating system it's on. There's not one out there that won't. And if you do think that is possible, I'll sell you this tin foil hat for $59.99.
 
There's a difference between "more secure" and "can't get malware." OS X is based on BSD Unix, so is more secure than Windows. Unix was designed from the ground-up with a root/user model. Only root processes can do whatever they want with the system. Apps run as a user and thus can't run amok with your system (unless the owner gives it permission).

Windows was built on the single-user model of DOS. Only one person ever uses the computer, so every app should have permission to do anything it wants. Microsoft finally started changing this with Windows Vista, which is why it was so widely reviled. Apps which were written assuming full access to the system (admin privileges) either didn't work, or popped up so many privilege elevation prompts so as to be unusable.

While no system is completely immune, because of this architectural difference, even if the situation were reversed and OS X had 95% of the market share and Windows 5%, there would still be less malware for OS X than we currently have for Windows.

All that said, a person believing their system is immune is a huge problem. If people believe OS X is immune to malware, they're going to engage in much riskier behavior because they think there will be no consequence. So I suspect it's a bit of a wash. Any benefit OS X has because of its architectural superiority is offset by the myth that OS X is immune causing users to engage in riskier behavior.
 

JoshRoss

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To be fair. The fact that Windows was built on top of many different exploitable protocols, which to this date there are plenty of exploits to abuse does not help Windows in this battle. Mac's are more secure because of their strict application and content control. But doesn't mean entirely. I mean sure, it is great that they are riding "Ultimate Mac security" piggy back. But we all know that anything connected to the internet is straight up a vulnerability. And yeah, Solandri has a point with Architecture difference. Mac's were built properly and adjusted/rewritten when it was needed. It is nigh impossible to do that to Windows right now. I am pretty sure it still contains some crazy bad legacy code. However, I will continue using Windows as my main primary machine, I just prefer the functionality and accessibility of Windows.
 

They weren't initially. MacOS was built on the single-user model just like DOS/Windows. And Apple continued with this model (and inferior multitasking) all the way to 2000 with Mac OS 9. Long past the time Windows was starting to adopt the multi-user model (Win 95).

It's just that Apple had the "courage" to completely jettison the old MacOS and start from scratch to build a new, more secure OS (which became OS X). Microsoft, due to its larger installed base and especially in-house apps, felt compelled to maintain backwards compatibility with the old DOS/Windows paradigm. Up until the malware became just too much and they forced the move to a more secure model in Vista. And when they did transition, they did it in a lame way. OS X maintained compatibility with MacOS 9 apps by allowing you to run them in an emulator. Windows 7 did the same, but the capability was only present in Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise (it shipped with a virtual machine of Windows XP for running legacy apps).
 

g-unit1111

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That's exactly the thing that infuriates me about Apple. They advertise all the time that Mac OS X and iOS don't get viruses. However - they're two of the most used operating systems out there right now, which makes not only Mac OS X, but also iOS a target for virus, bot, and malware programmers. And then that encourages users to engage in riskier behavior - you know, piracy, torrenting, TOR browsers, unverified game mods, and unlicensed software keys - you know - the worst things that the internet has to offer. The thing is Mac OS less likely to get a virus than a Windows system would? Yes. But are they completely immune from viruses? No.
 

turkey3_scratch

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Does Apple directly make this a marketing point, or is it more stuff the other people say?
 

JoshRoss

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They use the term for marketing very vaguely. They are not 100% stating it is virus free, but everything they are building and words that they are spreading around the community, including some marketing campaigns give out a strong implication of such matters.
 
Well, if Apple were honest, they'd outright tell their users unequivocably that Macs are not malware-free, and you should still use anti-virus and practice safe computing. That they don't do this is irresponsible. If the cliffside road is damaged, but people are telling each other that it's fine, the road owner has to step up and clarify to everyone that it's damaged, and that they should proceed with caution. They could do this and still truthfully claim that OS X is less vulnerable than Windows.

That they don't do this and allow the myth to persist indicates that marketing is more important to them than their users' safety. But then, that's the type of company Apple is: marketing uber alles.
 

g-unit1111

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This ad was from 2010:

[video="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF7habaTvAY"][/video]

And then this ad was from 2017 - so in 7 years they still keep the myth going:

[video="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRM31VRNQw0"][/video]
 

JoshRoss

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Never watched Apple ads myself, but weird to see that they are pushing the "Completely virus free" mentality. I expected this to be more of a community thing. I guess it turned out into community thing as well. Well, in any case, any reasonable individual knows, if you are connected to the internet, you are vulnerable one way or another. Whether it would be phishing or a malicious file, human factor will always exist.
 
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