The Great Mac Virus Myth

by Egor Kloos Jun 18, 2004

Lately you may have been reading of certain security issues within Mac OS X. No real threats as of yet. But this will change.

I personally never believed that Apples UNIX variant was bullet proof. No system is. It was just a matter of time before the ‘specialists’ started seeing gaps in the system. And now they have. The number of discoveries of course will increase so that eventually someone will adapt a virus to make use of these so-called exploits.

So what this all mean? Is Mac OS X a security hellhole just like any other operating system? Have we been mislead by the Hype? Well, yes and no. Apple has never proclaimed that their OS was watertight; they never bashed the competition because they knew full well that bugs and security issues would arise. It would come back to bite them in the rear. Apple’s low market share does give them some protection, well sort of. Writing a hack for a small number of computers evidently isn’t worth the effort. But it only takes one virus to mess everything up. So if you haven’t started to protect your computer you should do so today. And I mean today, not tomorrow. Because tomorrow you’ll be sorry and Window users will laugh in your face and you don’t want that now do you?

When I hear some spokesperson proclaim that their company takes security issues very very seriously it sounds redundant because I believe that any company worth their salt should have security high on their list top priorities.

System breaches will damage their brand and thus lose them money and market share. Microsoft, Sun and Apple all approach the problem from a different angle.

Just take care of your end by using some virus protection and don’t click on every attachment in your mail. Don’t auto start everything, keep you firewall running and don’t let your system wake for network activity. It’s cool that your computer can control a lot of stuff. But it’s your computer so don’t let some cracker take it over for their own use.

Remember your OS is just an OS and doesn’t absolve you from taking care it. Neglect it at your peril.


  • “Writing a hack for a small number of computers evidently isn’t worth the effort. ” In fact the incentive of writing the first real virus for Mac OSX is huge, because it will ensure the virus writer enormous publicity (PC Mags and Mac Mags, including all the main newspapers would surely write pages analysing every bit of the code.) and probably eternal fame. It would almost be like the first step of Man on the moon.

    Johnny66 had this to say on Jun 18, 2004 Posts: 13
  • Johnny66, very good point. If it’s not happening, it’s for many other reasons.

    Now as for the article…

    The fact is that there is ZERO virus on Mac OS X now.

    How does an antivirus program protect us against future viruses?  How can a program detect a non-existant virus?

    Mac OS X antivirus program: “We have detected that you didn’t enter your admin password to allow installation of an executable in the system directory. Do you wish to delete this file?”. Click Yes: “Please enter your admin password so we can remove the file.”

    Is there something wrong with this picture?

    BuzzyBeetle had this to say on Jun 19, 2004 Posts: 3
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