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Has your computer ever been infected by a virus?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 9, 2005 11:05 AM PDT

Has your computer ever been infected by a virus?

Yes, once (tell us which one)
Yes, many times (tell us why so many times)
Never (tell us your secret of survival)

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I've been tried but nothing "stuck"
by adkmom / May 10, 2005 10:26 AM PDT

I have to wonder if it's the tag-team of a router plus Zonealarm free?

I have many friends who do not have the router & seem to have more issues than I?

I use Spybot plus Adaware- & recently added MS/Giant antispyware beta.

I am all over the net for all sorts of searches- if anyone were going to catch something- it would be me...

so far, so good (since 1999),


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Once by the Chernobyl Virus in 1999
by Julie Allen / May 10, 2005 11:11 AM PDT

I was a really newbie in 99 and got hit by the Cheronobyl virus only 2 months after I got my first Windows based pc.

I'm a quick study and the only time it happens to me now is when I test my anti virus software (not for the faint of heart and anyone new to the internet).

I use Zone Alarm and Norton Anti Virus 2005. I have no problems nabbing virii, trojan horses and annoying adware trying to get onto my system is killed asap as well.

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by WarDaft / May 11, 2005 5:55 AM PDT

I'm under a similar setup, and I've been hit a total of three times since 1994, each time due to my own personal carelessness. Symantec quicly mowed them down though, so no harm was done.

The closest thing I've had to damage from a virus *might* have been the blaster worm. Or it might simply have been a simple case of system file corruption, I still don't know for sure.

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No, because Mac's are not running poorly written software
by JGetchel / May 10, 2005 10:27 AM PDT

Title says it all. Mac's do not have virii.

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Whistling past the graveyard....
by DarkHawke / May 10, 2005 10:56 AM PDT

Or is it that it's been a while since anyone cared to write a virus for the Mac? Windows has its vulnerabilities, no question, but NO computer system is inherently immune to admittedly highly talented, if nefarious, individuals who are bound and determined to crack it. If I were a Mac user, I'd be keeping a much lower profile, run anti-virals anyway, and cross my fingers that the platform doesn't get real popular again and/or no one gets hacked off enough at the iZealots to prove 'em wrong!

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I had the blaster worm
by mrderp / May 10, 2005 11:28 AM PDT

Then again, pretty much everyone I know got the balster worm. The suprising thing bout the virus is that 6 moths after my first infection, I bought a new computer. When I hooked it up and went to update norton's db, I got the blaster worm after 20 seconds of downloading from their "secure" sevrers.

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by hothta / May 11, 2005 3:18 AM PDT
In reply to: I had the blaster worm

i got the blaster from earthlink web sight

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Anti Virus Freeware
by Titmouse712 / May 11, 2005 1:57 PM PDT
In reply to: I had the blaster worm
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by Wolfie2k5 / May 10, 2005 12:32 PM PDT
Or is it that it's been a while since anyone cared to write a virus for the Mac? Windows has its vulnerabilities, no question, but NO computer system is inherently immune to admittedly highly talented, if nefarious, individuals who are bound and determined to crack it. If I were a Mac user, I'd be keeping a much lower profile, run anti-virals anyway, and cross my fingers that the platform doesn't get real popular again and/or no one gets hacked off enough at the iZealots to prove 'em wrong!

Don't have to go too far to find a major open hole. Today, it was reported on ZDNet that there's a major hole in the new Widget gizmo in the brand new, just released Tiger. It would seem that a couple of people have already written proof of concept code that 1.) downloads (without asking) a new widget and 2.) sets it up so that it can be run - and not only run with whatever security level you've got - but as ''root'' (Admin mode for Windows users) It can also install pornographic icons for the widget.

And here's the kicker - Once installed, It's fairly difficult to get rid of. You can delete the code, but the icon, it would seem is a permanent addition to your desktop. Mind you, these are proof of concept only. They don't do anything truly nasty. YET.

Read it at:
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by Titmouse712 / May 11, 2005 2:26 PM PDT
In reply to: DOH!!

Most mac owners are unable to run WIN by themselves.
The truth be known. Hope they know how to format.
Yes guys and girls, it's only a matter of time till
your in the same boat as WIN users. Always be prepared
Don't look down your nose's at us unwashed Windows
users, you may need our assistance some day. We live
on the edge of PC security. Always walking that fine
line of safety or reckless abandon. Till you can't
otherwise, play it safe, and keep your MAC. I admire
you. But the WIN users will be there out front. What
will they say? We wear our nose's on the front of our
face's, so anyone that think's they can, can take a
poke at em! And we'll stand our ground.

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What do you mean?
by psuser / May 12, 2005 11:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Mac????????

Mr. or Ms. WIN User,

Your rambling is not only distorted and confusing, it also has a typo. Try using "you're" when you mean you are - not "your."

Consider yourself corrected by a Mac devotee.

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by Don Seifert / May 13, 2005 8:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Mac????????

like you're operating system, you are confusing

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Mac Zealots????
by peter Chivers / May 10, 2005 8:47 PM PDT

It's not the fault of Mac users that Windows is such a crap piece of software that they choose to use Macs. Windows IS a virus in its own right, and people who use it deserve all they get thrown at them

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And Macs are toys, not computers
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / May 11, 2005 10:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Mac Zealots????

with the learning curve so low because there are no advanced features to learn about. Now that we have the insults out of the way, why don't you address the original question?
-- Dave K.

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Working TOY is better than a broken TOOL!
by tedkolb / November 26, 2005 6:26 AM PST

Maybe, but I'd rather have a virus free, highly productive, rock solid OS(not to mention stylish), TOY over a virus prone, utilitarian, compromised OS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOL any day. But don't worry, I'm sure VISTA is going to save you all from eternal frustration.

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And I'd rather have a tool that works to play good games!
by money11465 / December 11, 2005 5:54 AM PST

Macs are total toys. Talk to me when you can right-click anything on you kiddie toy. How fast does the new mac go? about 1 1/2 GHz? Why don't they use a real processor with an upgradable motherboard and a many-sided OS? Why do they get most of their profit from schools who make deals with Apple? Cause they are toys! Can't do anything on them.

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Right On!
by carolina1 / December 11, 2005 3:08 AM PST
In reply to: Mac Zealots????

It's not the percentages that give windows problems. It's the software.
Why does everything come prepackaged in Windows to upload you daily information. To adjust your preferances? Sure!
Window is an oversized, swiss cheese OS and the herd just follows gates over the cliff while he sings "trust in me" (sung by the snake in Jungle Book).
After becoming a re-installation expert with Windows, I have had zero, zippo, nada ...problems with my free linux operation and the new "Open Office" runs circles around Microsoft Office. It was all free!

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Whistling through airport security . . .
by paganoid / May 11, 2005 3:37 AM PDT

There are no percentages in writing malicious code for the Macintosh. Virii need to propagate to survive. If the virus can't find a compatible computer to replicate itself, it dies. That is why Mac virii occur infrequently.

There are circumstances where Mac virii can propagate freely: user groups, all-Mac worksites, school networks. Mac users need to stay current with virus and spyware treatments just as PC users do, even though the threat is not as great.


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I Have To Laugh ...
by buzzbomb67 / May 10, 2005 12:41 PM PDT

I really have to laugh when Mac users say things like this. My brother-in-law is a die-hard Mac user, and is one of the most careful people I've ever seen when it comes to 'virii', yet I have personally seen him get viruses, and have seen his computer lock up, crash, etc. Sure, Macs don't break down as often as PCs, but when they do, it's NOT a pretty sight!! Perhaps this is due to that fact that Mac users are so unfamiliar with such things.
Being a PC user, I've had quite a few viruses over the years, (some of which nearly killed my computer) and I've learned to live with such annoyances, though of course, they are just as frustrating each time it happens. The simple matter is, I download a lot of stuff from the internet, and unless you want to go thru a maze of protocols, it's not particularily practical to use maximum security measures.
Anyway, the point was that Macs DO break down, so Mac users should keep up on their game, and keep those virus programs running, no matter what. Whether you believe it or not, you are NOT immune to disaster, and it WILL strike, someday when you least expect it.

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Yeah, right!
by bgrigg / May 10, 2005 1:48 PM PDT

Macs are not nearly as affected by viruses because the script kiddies who write them could care less about fringe OSs.

lists many known virii. Auther is David Harley well known Mac programmer.

Mac OSX is much more secure than the old Apple OSs, but only time will tell. As the market share grows, so will the infections.

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Its not because ''script kiddies'' don't want to mess with M
by DevilBoy / May 10, 2005 4:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Yeah, right!

First of all, its ''viruses''...not ''virii'' everyone... Happy
Currently there are over 75,000 known viruses for the Windows platform, there are absolutely none for the Mac OS X platform...and its not because people don't want to mess with a 'fringe' OS. Unix-based OS's (like OS X) won't experience all of the problems with email-borne viruses and worms that are so prevalent in the Microsoft world. I am not saying that just because there are none, it is not possible to get a virus in OS X. Someday there may be. Sure its been almost 5 years with OS X and still none (compared to the 75,000+ for Windows), but even if one did, it would not affect any great number of computers.
This is because Mac OS X doesn't allow users to use the root account unless they first enable the option. This lessens the likelihood of email-driven viruses and worms, as most users would not even know how to enable the root account or rarely even need to. In order for a virus to attack your system it must be given root user priviliges, otherwise it will not be allowed to run. Due to the strong separation between normal users and the privileged root user, a Mac OS X user would have to be running as root to really do any damage to the system. Also, there are also no self-executing programs or files in Mac OS X. So a user would have to read the email, save the attachment, give the attachment executable permissions, and then run the executable. The user could damage his /user/home directory, but that's about it. For it to infect the entire system the steps would have to become the following: read, save, become root, give executable permissions, run. The more steps, the less likely users will bother with it, the less likely a virus infection becomes, and certainly the less likely a catastrophically spreading virus becomes.

Running as root (or Administrator) is common in the Windows world. In fact, Windows XP, supposed Microsoft's most secure desktop operating system, automatically makes the first named user of the system an Administrator, with the power to do anything he wants to the computer. Also, Windows software is either executable or not, depending on the file extension. It's easy to run executables in the Windows world, and users who get an email with a subject line like ''Check out this wicked screensaver!'' and an attachment, too often click on it without thinking first, and before they know it, a new worm has taken over their systems. Sometimes the simple act of opening the email to read it will trigger the malware.

Basically, while I would not consider any OS superior either, Mac OS X establishes a more secure footing than Microsoft Windows, one that makes it far harder for viruses to take hold in the first place, but if one does take hold, harder to damage the system, but if one succeeds in damaging the system, harder to spread to other machines and repeat the process.

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Yes, Mac's Do have Virus's
by r_rayjr / May 10, 2005 4:16 PM PDT

I do not know where you get your information. But as someone who has serviced in the Military for over 11 years and have been to many parts of the country and the world I have heard lots of MAC's getting Virus's. And When I got my Associates of Science degree in Electronic Engineering Technology in 2001. I had a fellow class mate say he had a virus on his MAC. And not at ITT working on my Bachelors of Science degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering Technology. I have heard about other people or their friends getting virus's on their MAC's I have even heard about MAC's Getting infected on the News. So I do not know where you heard that MAC's do not get virus's because of their programming. I mean now a days anything can get a Virus. They have them on cellphone now. Hell, when they come out with the Computer chiped freeze or what ever they will be sujected to virus too.

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And I once heard
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / May 22, 2005 12:50 AM PDT

that if you went to New Orleans, you could get mugged, taken to a hotel room, have two kidneys removed, be put in a bath of iced water and left with a phone and instructions to call 911 when you woke up. It has to be true because I heard it from someone, who had a cousin who was told by a friend who knew the person that had actually met the people who were buying UPS uniforms on eBay and that friend heard it from their friend that is an attorney.
Get Real

Come back when you actually see a Mac virus yourself.


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David, where did you get that MacVirus info?
by donlevy--2008 / November 25, 2005 4:51 PM PST

David, I don't know much about a lot of things, but I know Macs like the back of my hand - and I know one thing for sure: you never, ever heard that directly from a KNOWLEDGEABLE Mac user. There has NEVER, EVER been a single virus on Mac OS X, and as a professional tech support person (for Macs only) I haven't seen a Mac with a virus in over 10 years.

The real story is that Windows users ASSUME that Macs have viruses, so they easily spread the rumors. And less knowledgeable Mac users (not everyone wants or needs to be a computer guru) often believe that they ''have a virus'' when what's really wrong is the result of several years without any maintenance at all, including the simplest of preventative maintenance - what they really have is an old operating system version trying to run a new program, or vice versa, or something that's been so abused by neglect (they were busy using their Macs to do work) that it needs a little TLC by someone who knows what to do.

These particular Mac users often have programs ostensibly DESIGNED to find and eliminate ''Mac Viruses'' installed on their Macs (often rather expensive programs, too) that are totally incapable of finding, let alone ''fixing'' anything viral that would pose a threat to a Mac. Remember: there AREN'T ANY viruses on the Mac OS X. All these antiviral Mac programs do is make a mess while pretending to do something meaningful. If they DO find a virus, it isn't a Mac virus, but rather a Windows virus that is attached to a file the user got from a Windows user (like a MS Word file). As far as the Mac is concerned, it's completely inert, can't multiply or infect other files on the Mac - it's essentially just a meaningless lump attached to the file. If it's really a nasty one that severely damaged the file before it left the PC it came from, the file might not run at all on the Mac, but that's about all that happens. Imagining anything else happens is just nonsense. Really.

This ''immunity'' of Macs is not due to the handsome and efficient Mac GUI (graphical user interface) that we humans see when we work with a Mac. Rather, it's almost entirely due to the proper implementation of UNIX, which is the real operating system under the hood of the Mac OS. To all but the most techie of Mac users, it's virtually invisible. But it's essentially the same UNIX core that is used in mainframes and huge government and industrial computing set ups which eschew the Windows OS because of (among other things) its vulnerability to over (thus far) over 100,000 known viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware software, and the like. Apple didn't invent UNIX, they simply brought it to the desktop computer user, where before it was used on much more esoteric (and often hugely more expensive) machines.

So viruses may be on cell phones and perhaps a lot of other devices, they just aren't on any Mac I ever get to see.

There's just one exception: if the Mac owner is unwise enough to actually load onto his/her Mac a copy of Virtual PC (a software emulator made by - you guessed it - Microsoft), it CAN then become vulnerable to some Windows viruses. Why? Because after you load in Virtual PC you also have to install the Windows operating system to run within it, with the same viral security flaws that go with the real Windows boxes.

The cure is THEN to run Windows antiviral software within Virtual PC, but that's pretty silly. If one wants or needs to run Windows, it makes a lot more sense to run it on a real Windows box and not gum up your perfectly good Mac.

Sorry, but Mac viruses are just old wives tales kept alive by the good old fashioned rumor mill.


Don Levy
The MacTherapist
Los Angeles

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by r_rayjr / May 6, 2006 7:43 PM PDT

MAC's DO HAVE VIRUSES, I have worked with both MAC's and PC. And I have done searches on the internet about MAC Viruses. They are listed at McAFEE, Nortons and other Anti-Virus Program makers. They also taught this at the 2 Colleges I have been to. And they also have said this when I was in the UNITED STATES NAVY. I was in the Navy for over 11 years, and yes they do use some mac's. And they have had some of there MAC's get infected. As I said in my other post here YES, Windows PC do have a lot more VIRUS, and MAC's, But Mac's are not as safe as everyone thinks. In fact not to long ago on the News, they said that MAC Viruses are on the rise. And if the trend keeps going as it is now, then MAC with have almost as many as Windows based PC's.

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Look mac no viruses. Mac not Toys. Some words for fatalists.
by mhadi2k2 / November 26, 2005 3:07 PM PST

Look mac no viruses. Mac not Toys. Some words for fatalists.

To the fatalists here who believe that everthing can and will have a virus, so therefore macs are not exceptions , let me repeat that Mac OSX does not have one yet in 5 years it has been out. It's Unix under the beutiful graphical interface, and it has been designed by paranoid minds as far as security goes.

Seeing some of the posts here makes me think of the fountain pen days... someone saying "every pen WILL leak, so your fancy microtip or ballpoint WILL too, and i dont even want to TRY it or discuss it any further because it has INK flows so OBVIOUSLY it HAS to leak and WILL leak the moment you start writing."

I have used comps extensively since the DOS 6.0 fifteen years back through Win3.x,95,98,me (eminently forgettable this one), 2000, and xp, solaris, a little mac os 8.6 in between and now mac osx. There is very little that i cannot do on a mac that i need win for, and there is a whole lot of stuff i can do on a mac that i cant do on win. I currently use solaris, win 2k professional and mac os x at work and mac osx on my laptop. The decision to go for a mac laptop (powerbook) was made just 1.5 months after first using mac osx 1 year back...once you go mac, you never go back. Macs are NOT TOYS, though kids and ignoramuses can use very satisfyingly them as such. We use a lot of macs for serious number crunching along with any number of sun workstations at one of the worlds largest research facilities.

Remember that pre OSX mac versions(os 9 and below) have had viruses, but osx is a totally different os that was completely rewritten with a unix core and not backward compatible with os9 (you will have to start os9 virtually in a window within osx to use any os9 apps), and since that change to osx hapened in 2000, no viruses afecting mac osx....none at all. Please be informed (and substantially more than hearsay) when you post.

A small office macro viruses can work on the mac side too, but will only affect office documents. but this is a fault of microsoft office rather than mac osx, so just go easy on the macros as always if you are not sure what the are supposed to do.

Rather than bashing mac users because they are smug (and rightly so, which usually hurts even more), push microsoft to improve things on the security front. there is no excuse to let windows leak like a sieve and make users accept things ''coz that's how all computers are'' coz mac has shown that is not true and you can make an OS that will be virus free for 5 years and counting

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nope not any more
by russ666 / November 27, 2005 6:07 PM PST

There were only ever 60 that could get into the mac to begin with and they were left in the dust when OS X came out. Also please read my message "me neither" # 258 in response to another happy, 5 years and counting, mac OS X user.

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mac o_O

because it's not worth their time to develop a virus for a mac, not many people use them. there's no fame in creating a deadly mac virus, no one cares

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true, true.
by money11465 / December 11, 2005 6:02 AM PST
In reply to: mac o_O

The title says it all.

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My secret: Mac OS X
by dante116 / May 11, 2005 6:22 AM PDT

Virus free, worm free, spyware and adware free. Maybe some day this will change, but I've been enjoying my computing experience without all of the Windows headaches for years now, while my Windows-using friends bemoan their constant virus and spyware problems.

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