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I've done ~15 Windows reinstalls in the last few years, and every single one of them was malware masquerading as anti-virus software. OSX's reputation may make Mac users feel invincible, but Windows users' knowledge of their vulnerability opens them to pretty effective scare tactics.

In fact, it hit my house twice, and I'm not exactly incompetent: Win7, Security Essentials, kept on top of Windows Update, no admin privileges for little brother or mom, updated Firefox, etc. The last time, it turned out we were behind on Java updates - it popped up in the systray 5 or 6 times a day for a few months and the few times my dad tried to allow the update, it failed. I didn't know about that until I was in the room while my brother was using the machine and I saw a dialog that looked an awful lot like Windows reminding you to install AV but not quite right. No way anyone else would have noticed that the background gradient was just a bit off. Did a scan... MSE was showing me 20 different Java exploits and "Anti"virus 2012 wouldn't let me open Firefox again outside of safe mode. Not something my parents would be able to deal with when I'm not there; they would have had to pay somebody. Its replacement will be a Mac; they like OSX better anyway.

I worked for a small-business IT firm for 3 summers and have never seen or heard of OSX malware except from the blogosphere/HN/media. We took our clients' security pretty seriously - corporate domains, enforced Automatic Updates, no idiots with local admin, corporate endpoint antivirus, antivirus in the spam filter, Sonicwalls, Firefox wherever possible, etc. Still, we got virus calls pretty frequently. I would usually babysit the reinstalls at a reduced rate, but when I wasn't interning, businesses were shelling out $150/hour for that. To be fair, most were XP, but there were a few virus calls for Win7.

I don't have statistics, but if you're going to claim OSX has fallen as far as Windows in terms of infection rate, I think the burden is on you to show some data. Again, just as many family friends running OSX as Windows; I've had Macs die (my MBP's motherboard gave out right after 4 years), I've had Macs run out of disk space, I've had the PowerPC/Intel switch lose my family a lot of money because perfectly good ~2006 machines can't run a modern OS or Flash/Firefox/iTunes, but I've never seen malware for OSX.




I've done ~15 Windows reinstalls in the last few years

So what? I've reinstalled Windows three times since Windows 7, and it's never been due to a virus. The last company I worked at was a Windows shop that also had 0 malware problems. Anecdotes are pointless in this discussion.

I didn't know about that until I was in the room while my brother was using the machine and I saw a dialog that looked an awful lot like Windows reminding you to install AV but not quite right. No way anyone else would have noticed that the background gradient was just a bit off.

Yes, your brother was the victim of a social engineering attack, the exact technique used to infect these Mac users. Windows systems aren't inherently less secure, and every terrible ailment described in your post is the result of voluntary action taken by the user.

I don't have statistics, but if you're going to claim OSX has fallen as far as Windows in terms of infection rate, I think the burden is on you to show some data.

No. The onus is on you to demonstrate how Windows 7 is inherently less secure than OSX. You're making vague assertions about how Windows is less secure but you haven't given specific examples of why that is true, only anecdotes that anyone can counter (or bolster) with personal exeprience.

The bottom line is, short of 0-days, both systems are equally secure.


You are constraining your discussing to Windows 7. I am not. XP may have disappeared from the life of a non-corporate programmer, it's still everywhere for me. Hence the impedance mismatch. Most of our shop's customers did not see a business need to upgrade, and acquaintances that can afford to buy new computers while their old ones are still running (however poorly) tend to be Mac users anyway.

>every terrible ailment described in your post is the result of voluntary action taken by the user.

No, it was a remote Java exploit. The dialog was to get you to pay for it after it had already installed.

The point is that despite all this talk about OSX viruses, malware is still not a part of day-to-day life with Macs to anywhere near the extent it is with Windows (when you include XP).


You are constraining your discussing to Windows 7. I am not. XP may have disappeared from the life of a non-corporate programmer

Well what version of OSX are you using to make your comparison? SP3 to 10.8? Either way, there isn't some nebulous security gap between OSX and Windows, vulnerabilities exist in all systems and a responsible vendor patches them when they're discovered.

Please show me how to remotely compromise an up to date SP3 machine. Yes, there are exploits that exist at points in time, but the same is true of OSX, just google "OSX exploit".

malware is still not a part of day-to-day life with Macs to anywhere near the extent it is with Windows

All that proves is that there is more malware targeting Windows, it speaks nothing to the inherent security of the system since malware can't install itself.


|vulnerabilities exist in all systems

Couldn't disagree with you more.


Your attempts at maintaining blissful ignorance of the probability of attack are very sweet and your final sentence could perhaps hold up as logically holding some water (I'd argue that you, like the poster to whom you are replying, have taken a very narrow view to support your position) ...the fact is that in practice and for the average user your assertion is flat out false.


> every single single one of them was malware masquerading as anti-virus software.

I'm curious what you think about Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - this was the only product that was able to clean my father's Win7 PC for Antivirus 2012 (by booting into safe mode with networking and running the cleaner). Paid for the Pro version. A little difficult to get working with the Symantec virus scanner but worth every penny for not having to make the trip to my parents to clean malware since...




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