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Security Windows Apple

One In Five Macs Holds Malware — For Windows 285

Posted by timothy
from the time-to-update-parental-advice dept.
judgecorp writes "One in five Apple Macs is infected with malware, according to Sophos. But most of that is harmless to the Mac... it is Windows malware ready to be transmitted to the Windows population. Only one in 36 Macs has OS X specific infections."
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One In Five Macs Holds Malware — For Windows

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  • Re:Infected? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:25PM (#39783221)

    In biological disease, there's a phenomenon called a carrier. For reasons unknown, the person is infected, but doesn't show any of the symptoms and never will. They are however able to infect others. As such, they are still considered infected. I think that's how the mac is considered infected.

  • Re:Infected? (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:40PM (#39783511) Journal
    After going through the links to find a better source [sophos.com], I think I understand what happened.

    The study comes from Sophos, with data collected from computers which downloaded their free anti-virus for Mac.

    The most commonly found malware on the Macs was apparently fake antivirus scareware. My guess is that a lot of users saw the fake browser popup telling them a virus was found, and then clicked on it. This started a download which didn't run, but now they have a malware binary in their download directory that they can't use.

    These are the people who downloaded free anti-virus from Sophos. No correlation.
  • Re:Infected? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @12:43PM (#39783567) Homepage Journal

    The same way lots of people are infected with some very potent diseases. It's just they're immune to it, so they're really just carriers of the disease. Heck, isn't something like chickenpox able to hide for decades in people only to infect those who haven't had it yet?

    Not really comparable. Carriers are still infected, in the sense that the pathogens can still reproduce inside their bodies; they just don't show any symptoms, presumably because their immune systems are capabable of keeping the infection at a subclinical level. Malware infections, OTOH, are, well, binary -- a system is either infected or it's not.

    The "Macs" that are infected with Windows malware, it sounds like, are really Apple-branded machines running both OS X and Windows, through dual-booting or with something like Parallels. The only thing comparable in medicine would be if someone were a chimera of different species, vulnerable to two different sets of diseases and with two different immune systems to deal with them, and both the diseases and the immune systems switched places throughout the day. IOW, there's really no such thing.

  • Re:Infected? (Score:4, Informative)

    by machinelou (1119861) on Tuesday April 24, 2012 @02:02PM (#39784851)
    Actually, she was forcibly quarantined twice. The first time was because she was spreading it without her knowledge. After at least a year, she agreed not to work as a cook and they let her go. A few years later, there was an outbreak of Typhoid in a hospital and when investigators arrived, they found Mary working in the kitchen. This time they forcibly quarantined her because she knowingly put others at risk. At the same time, there were a number of individuals in the New York area who were also showed no outward symptoms but were nonetheless infecting others. These individuals were not similarly incarcerated. Hence, in retrospect, incarcerating Typhoid Mary was more 'security theatre' than anything else. It was a visible but largely ineffective solution to a bigger problem.

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