“Mac owners have long boasted of their immunity to viruses. But with Unix-based OS X, it’s a whole new ball game,” Alex Salkever writes for BusinessWeek.
“In the wake of the MyDoom/Novarg fiasco, every Mac columnist has an easy out. After yet another virus attack has hammered the Windows world, the automatic response has been to pen the standard Mac gloat. It goes something like this: I didn’t get this virus because I have a Mac. In fact, I never get viruses. Never have, never will. That’s because Mac software is simply better than Windows software. So there,” Salkever writes.
“The game changed for Apple when it transitioned from OS 9’s fairly unique operating system to the Unix-based OS X. That meant any attack aimed at Unix machines could affect Macs. And there have been plenty of virus and worm attacks aimed at Unix. In short, now that Apple has Unix under the hood, Steve Jobs can’t rely on security through obscurity. The argument that Apple is safer because of its marginal place in computing’s cosmos no longer applies. With its embrace of Unix, Apple has joined a big family — and it keeps growing, thanks to Linux and other open source versions of Unix,” Salkever writes.
Salkever then plods through the many reasons Mac OS X is more secure than Windows XP and concludes, “Not everything in OS X is secure. The relatively short length of the passwords for accessing individual accounts isn’t a good thing. And security experts have found a steady stream of bugs in OS X requiring fixes. But for lowest-common-denominator attacks coming through e-mail attachments such as Mydoom, Apple offers far better protection than Microsoft. That’s particularly encouraging now that the Mac is playing in the far rougher and more populous Unix neighborhood, where security shortcomings could lead to disaster.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Salkever tries the “Security Through Obscurity Myth” on for size, but is rather unconvincing – particularly because it isn’t true. The underlying tone Salkever tries to weave throughout is that Mac OS X could be suseptable to worms and viruses, but he proves nothing and fails to state that there are no worms or viruses for Mac OS X to date. Quite a large fact to leave out of such an article, Alex. So there.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
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Is Mac OS X really inherently more secure than Windows? – August 26, 2003
BusinessWeek’s Haddad gets it wrong; thinks low market share spares Macs from viruses – August 28, 2003
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth – August 28, 2003
Fortune columnist: ‘get a Mac’ to thwart viruses; right answer for the wrong reasons – September 02, 2003
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Columnist tries the ‘security through obscurity’ myth to defend Windows vs. Macs on virus front – October 1, 2003