Is Windows virtualized in a Mac OS safer?

25 pts.
Tags:
Cloud Computing
Mac OS X
Windows Security
Windows Virtualization
With so many people worry about virus/spam out in the cloud and looking for a safe haven would this reduce the below work to reduce virus/spam.

Windows has a rep for having virus, so if I decide to use a Mac and install Windows as Virtual. Would any virus or spam be stop by the MAC before it gets to the windos platform or would the data go straight to Windows?



Software/Hardware used:
MAC, Virtual PC

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If the Windows virtual machine is going to have contact with the outside world (e-mail, internet access, etc.), then it will be prone to virus infections as any physical machine.

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Discuss This Question: 6  Replies

 
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  • carlosdl
    BTW, I didn't understand why the "Cloud Computing in 2010" title for this question.
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  • Webwillie83
    Would the MAC be prone to those infections that the Virual Windows brings in? (I'm aware they are different platform so the infections need to be able to handle unix, but because its not going throught the MAC internet filter is it prone to those infections.)
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  • Michael Morisy
    Brien Posey recently wrote a tip for SearchVirtualizationDesktop that touched on this issue: Does virtualization make desktop operating systems less secure? It's about Windows XP running on top of Windows Vista, but some concerns might be similar.
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  • carlosdl
    Great article Michael. I took this from the last paragraph: "Although there is nothing inherently insecure about running virtual OSes on a desktop machine, they are vulnerable to the same threats as OSes on physical hardware. Therefore, you should follow the same security best practices for VMs as you do for physical machines: Patch virtual OSes, run up-to-date antivirus software and ensure that group policy settings are properly applied." As for the Mac being infected, if the malicious program was written to run on Mac OSes and you have set up some kind of disk sharing between the host and the guest, then yes, the Mac could get infected, but if it is written to run on Windows OSes only, then it can't.
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  • Michael Morisy
    So in summary, no*: Running Windows on a Mac as a virtual machine won't protect your Windows installation from any viruses it would have otherwise gotten unless you take some other additional quarantining provisions. *If the data your trying to protect is on the Mac (for example, you use e-mail on the Windows machine but keep critical business documents on the Mac partition), however, it is a little safer, but as Carlosdl pointed out, there's still potential that it's a cross-platform virus that will attack both OS's.
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  • Webwillie83
    Carlos ... thanks. This discussion answered my question.
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