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So...can OS X get viruses or not?

post #1 of 16
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Been looking around a bit and mainly, everybody says yes, they can. Thing is, I haven't found any documented viruses for OS X. I saw many people giving a list of Trojans or other Malware that affect it but not any actual virus.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe there is a distinction between a virus a and a Trojan. A virus is a malicious software that can self-replicate and infect other files whereas a Trojan cannot replicate itself and serves as a backdoor for ill-intended people to harm your computer or just mess around with it.

Virus:
Quote:
a piece of code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.

Trojan Horse:
Quote:
a program designed to breach the security of a computer system while ostensibly performing some innocuous function.

So can anybody help shed some light? It seems OS X is protected against viruses as far as I know but not necessarily against other forms of Malware.
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post #2 of 16
Hopefully these both will help shed some more light for you. You are correct in your description. Viruses are essentially in their own class, but a Trojan is usually classified as malware, so yes they are two distinctly separate things. I have seen it where one can give way to the other, but OS X is fairly (although not 100%) safe from them, with having a modified Unix code-base.

Hope this helps.

https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-2472

http://www.technewsdaily.com/18269-mac-osx-virus.html
post #3 of 16
OSX is a BSD unix. As such the methods for writing effective malware differ slightly. It is very difficult to write a "virus" for unix, though IIRC it has been done. Unix IS susceptible to worms though, which is a slightly different type of malware. Worms Can attack multiple systems, so this is a question mostly of semantics. A virus designed to attack BSD may be modifiable to attack OSX. It is possible that no one has ever done such a thing. That does not mean it is impossible. Merely rampantly difficult. More difficult than writing other types of malware to attack the system.

It is a very narrow point you are making however. One based more on technical meaning than threat. "antivirus" programs generally detect many kinds of malware. "antivirus" has become a catchall term for anti-malware.
Edited by bombastinator - 12/14/13 at 10:56am
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post #4 of 16
The few tidbits of Malware that are around for it generally target the Java side of things ( at which point any machine running that version of Java be it Windows, Mac, Linux, etc are all at risk ). Other than that there's been very few incidents. And with the Java based ones it really comes down to you allowing it to install itself 99% of the time. So simple tool to remember, don't allow installation of unknown items.
post #5 of 16
OSX no. But Java or other 3rd party apps or plug-ins have been effected.
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post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeSVTguy View Post

OSX no. But Java or other 3rd party apps or plug-ins have been effected.

In practice, yes. It is technically possible, but highly unlikely to happen. Writing a virus for OSX is harder than attacking in another fashion, and crooks are generally lazy.
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post #7 of 16
Then again, I think there hasn't been anything that would just run by itself if it got into your system. 99% of the time any malware required authentication from the user. Unlike a Windows when it would pick up every virus under the sun just from connecting to the internet lol.
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post #8 of 16
The way OSX is built (it is based on Mach which is Xnu a hybrid UNIX kernel), viruses are very hard to create for the system OS itself, however, viruses can be created on the software on top of it.
 
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post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeSVTguy View Post

OSX no. But Java or other 3rd party apps or plug-ins have been effected.

You hang out here too?
 
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post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanyChris View Post

You hang out here too?

Just found this sub forum lol
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