“The real reason no viruses exist for Mac OS X has little to do with its low market share… but rather its near-impenetrability,” many of David Zeiler’s readers pointed out in a barrage of critical email missives responding to Zeiler’s inclusion of a quote from an anti-virus software firm’s consultant. The quote intimated that Mac OS X has no more inherent security than Windows.

Zeiler reports, “Though many amateurs may be looking for, and finding, holes in Windows, the FreeBSD Unix code that forms the foundation of OS X has been prodded by legions of expert programmers for 30 years. Though a few hardy souls use the Unix offshoot Linux on PCs built for Windows — they usually wipe Windows off the hard drive — Unix typically is used in mission-critical roles, powering high-end work stations and file servers.”

“And, as mentioned earlier, crackers prefer hitting targets that will cause maximum disruption. ‘Many orders of magnitude more people look over the source code for OS X and the related BSDs than have access to Windows source code,’ said John Klos, a developer of NetBSD, a flavor of Unix closely related to OS X,” Zeiler reports.

“Thus, many of the obvious holes in OS X were closed years ago. That, some suggested, actually makes OS X a more attractive target. ‘If I were a fame-driven cracker with solid technical skills, cracking a BSD-based system would be the fastest way to show off my capabilities,’ said Rich Morin, a programmer and consultant based in San Bruno, Calif. ‘My suspicion, therefore, is that many crackers have tried this challenge and failed,’ Morin added. Still, he cautioned ‘nobody has any way to know for sure,'” Zeiler reports.

Full (long) article here.

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