Mac and Linux viruses?
Lets put this into language that everyone can understand. As the old
saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let's use some
analogies to illustrate the point.
For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that all viruses are
"sexually transmitted". Next, let us also assume that restricting file
and system access permissions in the operating system is like wearing a
condom, and communicating on the Internet is like having sex (pretty
good analogies if I don't say so myself).
Windows systems are set up by default to allow users full access to the
entire system, which is to say that the operating system is NOT wearing
a condom. This is the equivalent of having unprotected sex at all times
while on the Internet. As a result, when viruses and other malicious
code gets into the computer, the malicious code also has unrestricted
access to the entire system.
Windows users are therefore encouraged to get "vaccinated" by using
anti-virus software to protect them against all the "known" viruses (I
say "known" because, like real vaccines, most anti-virus software is
only effective against “known” viruses). So,
Windows PC's are having unprotected sex ALL the time, even though there
is no protection against new viruses (until a new vaccine comes out
anyway). In addition, there is also malicious code (ie: rootkits) that
can be completely undetectable.
Mac, Linux and other Unix based systems come with condoms
pre-installed. Which is to say that they have restrictive file and
access permissions set up by default, so if any malicious code does
manage to find it's way in, it will have the same restrictive file and
access permissions as the user. Because the operating system is wearing
the condom, the worst case scenario is that the user's own files might
get “hosed”. The malicious code does NOT have
access to vital system files like it does in Windows (ie: the system
Is it possible for Windows to wear a condom or for Mac/Linux/Unix to
operate without one? Well, yes it is, but most systems do not switch
from the default setup because the vendor(s) of most operating
system(s) make it difficult for the average user to do so.
So, Mac/Linux/Unix systems have condoms on ALL the time and Windows
systems NEVER wear them, even though there are tens of thousands of
viruses in the wild, and over 99% of them ONLY target Windows systems.
Less than 1% target Mac/Linux/Unix systems.
There are never any guarantees in the world of Internet security.
Security is NOT a product, it's a PROCESS. It just so happens that
Microsoft got the process wrong. Security in Windows was an
afterthought, so they are "reactive". Security in Mac/Linux/Unix based
systems was built-in from the get-go, so they they are "proactive".
Windows is not necessarily a “bad” operating system
(at least I don't think so), but they certainly could have outfitted
Windows with condoms on by default instead of leaving it to end users
to put them on. I think that was a very bad decision. I hear Vista is
supposed to be more “Unix-like”. We'll have to wait
Let the “experts” put that in their pipe and smoke it!
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|When cows grow wings and learn how to fly||otis_2||0||1,467||May 2, 2006 4:26 AM|
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