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Is Mac OS X better than other OS as far as not getting viruses?

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April 8, 2011 8:49:53 AM

I presently use Windows 7 64 bit but am liking it less and less all the time... I am wondering if Mac OS X is better for not getting viruses and spyware and if it requires less maintenance than Windows...

I like my Windows mainly because it seems to give me more options for PC gaming but I like offline singleplayer shooter games so am wondering if when I get another computer if I got Mac OS X could I still run Windows OS on it for games... (I saw that Bestbuy was selling some Mac laptops that also had Windows on them... saw them back in November of 2011... anyone know if Mac has ability to run Windows on their desktops too... just want that for gaming.

Any comments suggestions appreciated.

More about : mac viruses

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April 8, 2011 9:42:41 AM

OS X might be a little more secure, but I think that it is mostly a matter of demographics. If you were a malware writer, would you target 90% of the PC's or 10%?
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April 8, 2011 9:50:25 AM

jsc said:
OS X might be a little more secure, but I think that it is mostly a matter of demographics. If you were a malware writer, would you target 90% of the PC's or 10%?



Good point... not sure if it is worth it for me to get a MAC if I mostly want to game... will see how Windows 7 64 bit goes from here on and then decide...

Wish all malware writers would go out of business :p 

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a b 8 Security
a b Á Mac OS
April 8, 2011 9:51:05 AM

Various tests and reports that I have seen suggest that OS X has more security vulnarabilites than Windows. This report is a little old but typical; and there is no reason to suppose that the situation has changed since then.

And Apple are rather more tardy about fixing these problems than Microsoft. But, as jsc says, the writers go where the market is.
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a b 8 Security
April 8, 2011 10:29:42 AM

Yes a MAC desktop can dual boot Windows 7.
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April 8, 2011 10:57:25 AM

The various tests and reports you have read only cover the vulnerabilities that the software originators care to report. A vast majority of the vulnerabilities that Mac OS X has are due to its extensive use of open source technologies that get a significant amount of testing and revision, and thus a lot of reports. So if you go by body count alone, of course Mac OS X (and any POSIX OS that uses the same source code that has that vulnerability) is going to have more reported vulnerabilities. It doesn't mean that the OS is less secure. In fact, more reported security vulnerabilities that quickly get patched is something I would rather see than vulnerabilities that get reported and ignored.
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April 8, 2011 11:43:38 AM

I'm hesitant to put faith in "lies and statistics" :) 

What I mean is, if you have been embarrassed by the number of reported vulnerabilities, what's cheaper ?

a) Double your security budget
b) Stop reporting self discovered vulnerabilities.

What's another way to reduce the vulnerability count ?

How about issue a patch that fixes 4 vulnerabilities and count that as 1 instead of 4.

OTOH, the thing about virus writers being more inclined to attack the most popular OS, I don't buy it. What's gonna get you more headlines, knocking out the heavyweight champion or knocking out a series of "no name" fighters.

Speaking from personal experience having two college age kids with both Macs and PC's, my time as "IT Manager" on a "per box" basis makes it a "no contest". The two Macs have required my attention twice, that being to install drivers for our Canon i2880 color office network printer.

The PC's (6 desktops, 4 laptops) require some form of attention about twice a month.....OS re-installs on the kids boxes occur each year in the vacation week between XMas and New Years....all PC's have 24/7 "paid for" firewall / malware / AV coverage.
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April 8, 2011 11:58:40 AM

Yes, OS X has virtually little to no malware or viruses that affect it. This is NOT to say that OS X does not have many security vulnerabilities. OS X is generally playing catch up to Windows in terms of security features like ASLR. But the reality is that Macs generally don't get targeted or exploited nearly as frequently Windows computers. So if your aim is to minimize maintenance and virus/malware attacks, going with a Mac is an excellent choice.

However, if you're main goal is gaming, I'd stick with a Windows PC. You'll get more bang for the buck in terms of hardware and more options for hardware (either more powerful or less expensive). Sure, you can install Windows on a Mac (I do this myself) and you can game perfectly fine. But you'll generally pay more for equivalent hardware raw specs-wise (I won't get into a debate about build quality). I always recommend buying a particular model of Mac as early in product cycle as possible since that's when you get the best value. Apple tends to have longer refresh cycles for their hardware. While the price of their computers does not get lower during the product cycle, the intrinsic value of the components in their computer goes down.

Long story short:
* Concerned more about security/viruses/malware, go with a Mac.
* Concerned more about gaming, go with Windows PC.
* Always buy a Mac model when it's first release for best value.
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a b 8 Security
a b Á Mac OS
April 8, 2011 12:05:06 PM

Houndsteeth said:
In fact, more reported security vulnerabilities that quickly get patched is something I would rather see than vulnerabilities that get reported and ignored.

I don't really agree with the rest of your post, but I certainly agree with this. Unfortunately, experience shows that Apple tend to be very slow at fixing security problems.

The only real test of how secure systems are is when hackers are let lose on them. As this link demonstrates, Apple are by no means blameless in this respect. And the vulnarabilities there are in closed-source software.

The truth is that all OSs are pretty secure, but they all have their vulnarabilities. It's often stated that OS X is more secure than Windows; the facts just don't bear that statement out.
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a b 8 Security
a b Á Mac OS
April 8, 2011 12:10:30 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
the thing about virus writers being more inclined to attack the most popular OS, I don't buy it. What's gonna get you more headlines, knocking out the heavyweight champion or knocking out a series of "no name" fighters.

I think, perhaps, you misunderstand the motivation of virus writers; they are not out to "get headlines". In many cases they are out to steal your data and would rather they didn't get any headlines. So they go for the target where there is more data to steal.

When it comes to a level playing field, i.e. the hackers' contests, OS X is consistently the first to be hacked. I don't buy the idea that this is because it is "a heavyweight". The hackers would be going for Linux if that was the case; there are far more important systems running Linux than OS X.

If you can provied documentary evidence, rather than hearsay, I'd be glad to read it. But all the evidence I have seen says that OS X is just as vulnerable as Windows.
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April 12, 2011 1:14:26 AM

fellskrazykayaker said:
Yes, OS X has virtually little to no malware or viruses that affect it. This is NOT to say that OS X does not have many security vulnerabilities. OS X is generally playing catch up to Windows in terms of security features like ASLR. But the reality is that Macs generally don't get targeted or exploited nearly as frequently Windows computers. So if your aim is to minimize maintenance and virus/malware attacks, going with a Mac is an excellent choice.

However, if you're main goal is gaming, I'd stick with a Windows PC. You'll get more bang for the buck in terms of hardware and more options for hardware (either more powerful or less expensive). Sure, you can install Windows on a Mac (I do this myself) and you can game perfectly fine. But you'll generally pay more for equivalent hardware raw specs-wise (I won't get into a debate about build quality). I always recommend buying a particular model of Mac as early in product cycle as possible since that's when you get the best value. Apple tends to have longer refresh cycles for their hardware. While the price of their computers does not get lower during the product cycle, the intrinsic value of the components in their computer goes down.

Long story short:
* Concerned more about security/viruses/malware, go with a Mac.
* Concerned more about gaming, go with Windows PC.
* Always buy a Mac model when it's first release for best value.


If I do get a new Mac with dual boot and Windows OS do you know if it will still play games aswell as regular PC with Windows ?

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April 12, 2011 12:47:21 PM

knk2009 said:
If I do get a new Mac with dual boot and Windows OS do you know if it will still play games aswell as regular PC with Windows ?


not at the same price though, i might be better to look into installing OSX on a hackintosh (google it if you haven't heard of it), as the best video card for the iMac is the 5750 which isn't that powerful and starts at $2k which can get you one hell of a gaming desktop

if you go the hackintosh route, look at the sites to check the best hardware to use for the best compatibility
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June 7, 2011 8:56:03 PM

Best answer selected by knk2009.
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