Another columnist trots out Mac OS X ‘Security through Obscurity’ myth

Columnist Bill Husted thinks Macs are better than Windows when it comes to viruses and worms, but he doesn’t seem to understand why.

“The Macintosh leaves the PC in the dust. Part of the reason is the operating system. But the biggest factor is that most viruses and worms target the largest group of machines: the PCs. Remember what Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks? ‘That’s where the money is.’ It’s the same here. Creators of worms or viruses go after the biggest target. A virus is a tiny computer program. As is true of commercial programs, software intended for the PC won’t run on the Mac. Macs usually get a free pass. Is it possible for a Mac to become infected with a worm or virus? Yes. Is it likely? No. The PC gets a D-minus, the Mac gets an A,” Bill Husted writes for The Palm Beach Post in his weak Mac vs. PC article where he cops out by giving both a “B” letter grade.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bill Husted also writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His email address is We sent him a copy of this article, along with links proving he’s spreading a myth. Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows XP – it has very little to do with the size of the target and most everything to do with OS design. As The New York Times reported back in September:

Mac OS X and Linux are much more secure than Windows XP. For example:

– Windows comes with five of its ports open; Mac OS X comes with all of them shut and locked… These ports are precisely what permitted viruses like Blaster to infiltrate millions of PCs. Microsoft says that it won


  1. Before I hooked my Mac to the web I made sure that every inherent security feature was on and good to go. Most Windoze users are apparently too lazy or too stupid to do the same on their machines.

  2. I am slowly being convinced that a significant percentage of Windows columnists are some of the worst researchers, poorest investigators, incredibly biased, and willfully ignorant people on planet earth.

  3. The trouble is, we no longer have “Journalists”. We have reporters and writers.
    “Journalists” investigate and research their topic. Reporters/writers just regurgitate with a spin.

  4. There’s no mandatory “do this and don’t do that or you’ll likely get burned” requirement to installing and using computers. Production and consumption are higher priority than education and learning. The masses are generally naive and blinded by an irresponsibly spoiled consumer mentality when it comes to technology.

  5. “I am slowly being convinced that a significant percentage of Windows columnists are some of the worst researchers, poorest investigators, incredibly biased, and willfully ignorant people on planet earth.”

    Well they ARE Windows users. We have to face it, the vast majority of people on this planet are stupid, lazy and cheap. And being that PC makers like Dell live and breath cheap, those types of people are going to be the majority of Computer users.

  6. smucker sez: “Most Windoze users are apparently too lazy or too stupid to do the same on their machines”

    Even if true, it would beat being an insecure asshole like you. A mac user who wears an internet condom…….gawd!

  7. LOL just realised that smucker is BEG. If the people (mac users) who run this site could figure out how to register and password users all this multipersona stuff would end. Doesn’t bother me, since I am smart enough to a)recognise the 15 year old jerkoffs who regularly post here and b) NEVER click on any of the header and margin stuff that provides income.

  8. Joe Mc,

    Are you upset with the comments, the article, of the fact that Mac OS X is simply much more secure than Windows XP by design and not through “obscurity?” Just checking.

    Of course, I assume you are afflected with S. S. and/or C. D.

    My sympathies.

  9. Inherent……that is a great point, and you have that over smucker. “Close” makes you ALMOST an insecure asshole, beg,…….livin’ large ain’t ya?

  10. Gosh, Fred, I am not close to being upset. I perhaps have been too circumspect in my point this evening, which is smucker’s indictment of “most windows users” (which of course means most people) being “too stupid or lazy” to do simple tasks. That is a common opinion, shared by many here I suppose, but of course it isn’t true. Otherwise the truely stupid would be the cognoscenti, like you perhaps, who suffer to share the highways with them.

    I am familiar with the article you reference, and I have always thought it was a low point in Steve Jack’s otherwise mediocre portfolio, for the same reason smucker’s opinion makes no sense. You defending them………well I know you are not wonky, but don’t let your kneejerk hit your outthrust chin.

  11. I personally feel that Macs being a smaller percentage of the market does inherently make them a smaller target. That said and allowed for it should still be OBVIOUS to anybody that the Mac is more secure because there are ZERO viruses. Even if they are a smaller percentage of the market there should be at least a few measly viruses out there if security was only due to obscurity. The fact is that the Mac is much harder to crack. The snot nosed amateurs out there writing PC viruses have a snowballs chance in hell of writing a successful Mac virus. As for the more talented potential virus writers, well, you would have to use and really get to know the Mac well to write a sucessful virus, and we all know what usually happens when you start using a mac, you fall in love with it, and so the motivation to write a virus would be eliminated.

    This guy should have pointed out the inhernent greater security of the Mac rather than perpetuating the easy-out PC explanation of security through obscurity. PCs are SWISS CHEESE when it comes to security. They are now estimating that MSBlaster virus infected Millions of Pee Seas (low estimate 8 million, high estimate 16 million).

  12. Don’t think that I have to apologize for being noninfected and using common sense. In fact, I would say I am more “secure” than a PeeCee owner because I don’t have to “worry” about the next scourge of worms and viruses. It seems obvious that PeeCee owners have problems because of operator error as much as poor OS design.

    Too bad if that bothers you, Joe. If you can’t wait for the new and improved Longhorn you can always buy a Mac today, ya know.

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