Apple’s Mac OS X is simply much more secure than Microsoft’s Windows XP

“The reason there are fewer viruses written for the Apple platform is the same reason there are fewer viruses written for the Amiga: there are fewer Apples. It is less fun to write viruses when (relatively) no one gets infected,” James Derk writes for The Scripps Howard News Service. “It’s like blowing off cherry bombs in the desert – what’s the point if no one can hear them?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Can you believe this kind of stuff is still being written in February 2005? Amazing. We have already sent an email message to Mr. Derk :

Dear Mr. Derk,

You are wrong and it makes you sound uninformed when you write such myths as if you believe them. The real reason no viruses exist for Mac OS X has little to do with its low market share… it’s simply more secure. Please read this and the full article to which we’ve linked:
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth

You should correct yourself on this point in print.

Thank you,

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  1. “but we have 35,000 windoze computers already…”

    Yeah, and we also spend $15M per year in security ALONE. *sigh* Being the ONLY Mac guy among 700 users in this building is a blessing and a curse…. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. I’m speechless, exactly how this writer should remain.

    And here I am wondering if I’m qualified for my next job. It turns out, you don’t need to be qualified to be a professional, what a relief.

  3. The MacOS may be constructed better, but I think he still has a valid point. If the hackers and virus writers exerted all their energy at the Mac platform like they do to Windows, Apple would have a lot more problems. My IT guy at work said that no system that is connected to the Internet can be made secure, and that it would be silly to replace our PCs with Macs, because viruses will come if Apple is able to increase market share. And this guy is well educated in the technology field, so I believe him.

  4. Bill Rixon: please, ask you IT guy if he is a certified Unix admin or just a Microsoft one.

    Although it is true that no system can be 100% secured under all circumstances only an ignorant Microsoft-only admin would spout such an idiocy as to believe that all OS are equal under the sun security-wise.
    Truly ignorant.


    Brought to you by magic word HARD.

    My gosh, these magic words are more and more appropriate it seems…

  5. OK, I give up. I surrender. It just doesn’t matter.

    After writing (emailing) dozens of comments about how OS X comes with all ports off, after telling a couple of hundred people at work why it would require their consent via password to allow anything from an installer to a virus to run, after ranting that the 3 proof of concept pieces were not really proof at all, (and barely even a good concept) I refuse to fight any more.

    Even if this bozo (latest among a couple dozen other tech “experts”) were right about security through obscurity, why would it matter? 0 Mac OS X virii vs 80,000 PC virii is still 0 on the Mac. 0 = better computing experience, less downtime, many hours free to enjoy other things that life has to offer instead of yet another reformat, install and update session with windows. Why do windows home users put up with that? At work its a job, but I would give up computers at home if it sucked that kinda time and resources just to keep the thing booting

  6. Bill Rixon,

    – “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’t have an opportunity to close these ports until the next version of Windows, which is a couple of years away.”

    – “When a program tries to install itself in Mac OS X… a dialog box interrupts your work and asks you permission for that installation — in fact, requires your account password. Windows XP goes ahead and installs it, potentially without your awareness.”

    – “Administrator accounts in Windows (and therefore viruses that exploit it) have access to all areas of the operating system. In Mac OS X, even an administrator can’t touch the files that drive the operating system itself. A Mac OS X virus (if there were such a thing) could theoretically wipe out all of your files, but wouldn’t be able to access anyone else’s stuff — and couldn’t touch the operating system itself.”

    – “No Macintosh e-mail program automatically runs scripts that come attached to incoming messages, as Microsoft Outlook does.”

  7. Well let’s be a little honest and objective here. Security through obscurity IS real. It’s not the whole story, by any means, but it’s a significant factor. On an ecven market share, Macs would be significantly more secure than PC. Fact.

    What I don’t understand is the even if Security through obscurity was the whole undeniable, and that OS-X was just as bad as windows, why wouln’t people still choose OS-X anyway ?

  8. Bill Rixon,

    His job and position of power depends on being irreplaceable. A crappy, bug ridden, security ridden OS feeds his kids and buys his toys. What do you expect him to say?

    The same unix based programs that run the Mac OS, underneath the lickable GUI, run 70% of the servers on the internet. The ‘backbone’ of the internet is under attack every minute of every day. Windows servers, 30%, suffer the majority of the casualties. That proves he is just blowing smoke for his own job security.

  9. a note to MDN Webmaster….

    One thing that bugs me, is having to “register” to some sites, just to read a news story, when most of the time, you can find that same story elsewhere without having to “register”…

    In this light, I would like to point you to ..this page, where one can, apparantly, read this same story without the “registration” hassles…

  10. AND, Mac OS X is based on BSD Unix, among all Unices the best in terms of security. It is – once again – comparing pee and champagne and labeling them as equivalent because:

    Both have bubbles
    Both are yellowish
    Both taste funny

    It is no simpler than that. Feel free to believe your IT guy offering you your daily dose of pee.

    Scary: magic word is “systems”. How more appropriate than that.

  11. OK, I guess Bill Rixon answered my question. Why do windows users put up with this? ‘Cause the IT guy said so.

    Bill does touch on a good point though. Virus writers will try to get on the Mac. Having Macs wouldn’t be an excuse to get lax on network security, However having Macs as servers and client/ enduser systems would make all the network/ datacenter security procedures what, maybe 100 times more effective?

  12. hywel: What I don’t understand is the even if Security through obscurity was the whole undeniable, and that OS-X was just as bad as windows, why wouln’t people still choose OS-X anyway ?

    I’ve wondered that myself. But I turn it around, when people say that Mac only has 2% (3% or whatever single digit percent du jour it is), and that it’s forever destined to languish at a ‘niche’ market, I say back “Perfect! That means that Virus Writers will NEVER look at the Mac, right? So then if that’s true, and Macs will never acheive the kind of market penetration you say, then Macs are forever destined to remain Safer than Windows.”

    That generally shuts them right up about that myth.

    Brought to you by “told”…as in “We’ve told you time and time again…Macs are just simply BETTER!”

  13. wasn’t there a contest last year where you got more points for breaking into a mac? i think there were no mac breakins even though, i think, there were 10 pts for mac and only 1 for windows. this contest proved that macs are, in some way of measuring things, 10x more secure than windows, otherwise the contestants would have spent their time more profitably on macs. to me this contest completely destroyed, in a practical manner, the security thru obscurity myth.

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