Australian IT: ‘bug-ridden’ Microsoft Windows no match for Apple Mac OS X iron-clad security

“Look, one really hates to crow over others’ misfortunes, but there are times when we’re doubly pleased our office (and home) runs on Apple Macs, not Windows computers. About the first or second week of every month in fact. That’s when Microsoft, developer of the Windows operating system, issues its regular warnings about the latest security problems and viruses to affect PCs running its bug-ridden software,” David Frith reports for Australian IT.

Frith reports, “Last week’s bulletin, to no-one’s surprise, listed yet another potentially deadly flaw in most Windows versions. The flaw, if left unpatched, could let attackers run malicious programs on users’ personal computers. Microsoft gives a critical rating to the risk associated with flaws in Windows NT, 2000, XP and Server 2003, and is urging its millions of users worldwide to apply software patches pronto.”

“Security glitches are not unknown in the Mac world, but they’re rare. Viruses and worms are rarer still – virtually non-existent. There’s no need for Apple to issue monthly bulletins,” Frith reports.

“Is Mac OS X any better? You bet. ‘Mac OS and Linux are written in such a way that any faults don’t have such widespread effects,’ [Bill Thompson, a computing expert writing for the London Times] says. ‘They have a proper security architecture built in, limiting access. Windows didn’t have this until Windows Server 2003. Microsoft originally thought that because Windows was a personal computing operating system it would not be connected to a network, so such security against outsiders was not needed,'” Frith reports. “Mac and Linux were always multi-user systems. ‘Why Microsoft did not change this stance as the internet took off is known only to Microsoft. It didn’t take security seriously.'”

“As this column has pointed out before, when a program tries to install itself in Mac OS X or Linux, a dialog box asks for permission from someone with the authority to make changes, and demands a password,” Frith reports. “Windows XP just installs such programs, including viruses and other malware, frequently without the user having even knowing.”

Full article here.

12 Comments

  1. I recently (last Wednesday) converted a former protege and subcontractor to Mac, assisting him in purchasing 17″ AlBook and then doing the Panther upgrade with him, turning on the appropriate security settings.

    By the end of the process his comment to me was “This things tied down like Fort Knox”. Every communication from him at the moment starts with “You know I wish I’d gotten into this sooner”.

    I can’t wait for his stories from his next shift running network support in Algeria, when he turns up with the Big Silver Thing running VirtualPC!

  2. So true.

    Saturday night, one of my friends’ computer just stop working. He rebooted and it would not work. Somehow Windows XP corrupted and destroyed his data. Mind you, this computer is less than 6 months old.

    In comparison, I have had my G4/400 with the same 10GB drive (and its various operating systems) since it first came out and I have yet to have the system crash beyond repair.

    It is a shame when you have to always plan for failure with Windows. My PC fails about once every 6 months.

  3. MCCFR:

    I need a little “assitance” in getting a 17 inch PowerBook or a dual 2Ghz G5. I’ll take checks, money orders, or cash. I’ll bet he names his next kid after you.

  4. >>Saturday night, one of my friends’ computer just stop working. He rebooted and it would not work. Somehow Windows XP corrupted and destroyed his data. Mind you, this computer is less than 6 months old.<<

    Well, I I can’t count the number of times I’ve had directory corruption issues on my various Macs. Thankfully Norton Utilities has always been able to either repair the issue or help me hobble to a reformat/reinstall. But I’ve seen this far more often on my Macs than my PCs. And it took me four tries at installing Panther without corrupting everything beyond repair. Try 1, fried hash table. Try 2, back-up everything to external disk, reformat, reinstall, copy everything back at which point Master and Alternate header blocks corrupt beyond repair. Try 3, reformat, reinstall, copy everything back the hash table goes kablooey again. Try 4 it now works fine, except for Safari beachballing constantly (though less than with Safari 1.0) and Classic crashing whenever I put my PB to sleep.

  5. What is the purpose of this article???????? They start out talking about security and then all of the sudden iPod battery legal battles in California? WTF…….??????

  6. Wow Tommy Boy sounds like it was a major major effort. I just followed the instructions and upgraded Jag on my Tibook using the archive option with no problems. I had read about other people having issues so I was nervous but it all went smooth. Then I upgraded our flat panel imac downstairs and that all went fine too. Only issue I have seen is one filemaker file does not display the field titles in one view. Goofing with it I could fix it though.

    At a place I used to work, one guy in particular had a lot of issues all the time on system 9. He was like running Norton every week trying to keep the issues from occurring. Man, I don’t know if I am blessed or what but I went like over a year without even rebuilding the desktop on my old Centris and never had a major crash or problem. So far (knock on wood), my macs have always just worked. Once in a while I will have a minor issue but so far never anything like what you have mentioned.

    Right now my mom is still on Jaguar and unless they release a Jag compatible iChat AV that works with vid with AIM I may have to try and upgrade her long distance so she can talk with my windoze sisters. I am worried though because of reports like yours so am hoping that the Jag ichat AV comes out soon and she can hang til I can do it in person when I visit for Christmas. Who knows? A new OS may be out by then and she can leap frog. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  7. MCCFR:

    Your friend may be using an AlBook, but if he is using VPC he is still vulnerable to M$ viruses. Make sure he knows to not use it for the web, and to keep the patches installed for the WinOS he is running on it. Failing to do so will allow his Emulated HD file to become infected just as a regular PC, and spread it to other Win PC’s. If hes only using it offline, and scans all files he adds to it for a virus before adding them, then he is still safer than a regualr WinOS system.

  8. Timmy,
    ‘The Barrow’ publishes an article every Tuesday in the The Australian newspaper. He comments specifically on Apple related news, often covering several topics in his piece. News Limited choose to place his articles on the web for all to view as well. I know it looks a little wierd the way it moves from one subject to the next, but that’s the way he does it.

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