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Re: virus

Subject: Re: virus
From: Walter Knapp <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 10:26:21 -0400
Syd Curtis wrote:
> Hello Walter,
>             I was very pleased to read your your comment below.  Very
> reassuring, given that I am also a Mac user.  But could it be that you ar=
> being a bit rash?=20
> I don't fully understand how these viruses circulate, but if someone on
> naturerecordists is infected, and your message gets circulated outside th=
> group as a result, might it not be seen as a challenge by some virus writ=
> to come up with something that does wreck Macs?  Not necessarily your OS =
> but my OS 9, maybe?

I'm not saying anything that's not been said everyday by lots of mac
users throughout the internet. This is well known stuff. There is this
very small list of mac viruses, but it can be ignored as they all were
built to attack earlier OS's than are around now and don't work on
current ones, even OS 9. And, let's face it, most of the destructive
type people use windows, mac folks tend to not be that type of personality.

The biggest vulnerability of a mac is in any microsoft software that's
on it. The last few viruses that worked on a mac exploited errors in
that software.

I'm still using OS 9, but in the process of setting up a parallel OS X
system in my computer to start the transition process. OS X is somewhat
vulnerable as there are some viruses from time to time that attack unix.
And as I've noted it's public face to the internet can have ways in.
Some through windows file sharing protocols, some through it's ability
to act as a web server. However, even there all that's vulnerable is
that someone can detect that the computer is on and hooked up. Actually
getting in and doing anything is a different story. Note I'm not totally
confident in the virus safety of OS X. The unix folks are way too cocky.

Viruses circulate via various vulnerabilities of the OS. Windows has
many flaws that allow a third party to insert their own software.
Partially they continue to exist as Microsoft mostly denies they are a
problem. The basic install on windows leaves all kinds of routes open
that should be closed. Microsoft tends to tell people who complain not
to use whatever part of the OS is vulnerable. Which would be ok if it
was obscure usage, but some pretty common things are included. Like
something as simple as opening email or a attachment to email, one of
the common routes nowdays, and the route that started this thread.

Windows users are partially to blame by often not being interested
enough to find out what to do. There are warnings all the time, there
are websites that give step by step instructions. Even the ones that
stir themselves enough to put on a virus checker often don't set it up
right, or don't keep it updated. Think about the person in Washington
DC, who's PC was spoofing my email. Every time he was on his computer
was sending a constant stream of virus infected emails. And he was using
a modem. All that activity was clearly noticeable and would have
interfered with his internet use. Yet it went on for over 3 months!



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