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August 22, 11:50

No Mac OS X-specific virus has yet appeared

Apple's Hot News points to a news article from that says all the things Apple probably would like to but can't say:

As the latest Microsoft Windows infection spread across the Internet last week, knocking out thousands of PCs in homes and businesses, Macintosh users did what they usually do during a computer virus outbreak — they continued working.

And that's just for be opening bid. The rest of the article contains a number of interesting facts about life in the Apple garden without worms and vira:

  • "Not a single Mac OS X-specific virus has yet appeared"
  • "The number of viruses written for the classic Mac OS is about 50. By comparison, security experts estimate the number of Windows-specific viruses at about 70,000"

Open ports by default: 1 for OS X, 5 for Windows XP
My freshly installed version of OS X only has a single open port — port 427, which runs the Service Location Protocol (finds services on the network). Starting a rendezvous-based program, such as Hydra or iChat opens for port 5298. So it's reasonably to expect that default Mac owners are only exposing these two ports to the world.

My default Windows XP installation is another matter. Without starting any programs on my own accord, there's five open ports: 135, 139, 445, 1025, and 3389. The first is of course where Blaster makes its entry. The rest include NetBIOS and "Microsoft-DS".

Neither operating system has the build-in firewall turned on by default (despite what the SunSpot article claims of OS X).

Challenge by Mark on September 05, 13:04

Once MAC OSX gains a larger market share, it will happen. I really like the OS and support it whole heartedly, but this is a weak argument and slightly naiive when taking into account it's lack of dominance in the market. The Mac marketing folk are simply riding on the back of this opportunity (for them at least).

Exploiting a vulnerablility is a numbers game. Despite my enthusiasm for MAC OSX, it's clear to see that anyone wanting to put a lot of time in effort into producing code in order to 'own' or knock offline a number of hosts just isn't going to go for MAC's - they want a big payload and they'll do it leveraging whoever has the most hosts out there, which happens to microsoft today.

This is just a commercial reality, and has nothing to do with who's software is better or not.

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