“Just a few years ago, the Apple Mac looked dead in the water. With a tiny market share, problems involving compatibility with other computers, and overly expensive kit, the company was kept alive by a small but devoted army of admirers. But by emphasising its beautifully designed computers and phenomenally successful iPod portable music player, it turned the corner and began to win new fans. More importantly, Apple’s prices are now within the reach of all,” Anthony Dhanendran writes for Computeract!ve.
Dhanendran writes, “So what are PC users missing out on, and what are the things that PC users can still gloat about?” Computeract!ve explores the Apple Mac “inside out, looking at how and why it differs from Windows-based computers, and explaining what you can do on a Mac that you can’t on a PC, and vice versa.”
“The received wisdom is that Macs are much safer than PCs when it comes to viruses, spyware and other security threats. It’s certainly true that virus writers target PC users running Internet Explorer because this is the most common combination on the internet. The virus writer’s strike rate will be higher doing this, than if they were to target Mac users,” Dhanendran writes. “Yes, the Mac is safer in general, with fewer discovered security holes, but that doesn’t mean it’s to tally free from attack. While as a Mac user you won’t be susceptible to PC viruses or spyware designed to trap PC users, there are still threats. Like the PC, Macs come with a personal firewall built-in, and automatic updates if bug fixes are needed. Finally, because of the way Mac OS works, the system’s core is more protected from viruses than under Windows. It is fair to say that, for now, Macs are safer than PCs, but that may change as virus writers and hackers start to take an interest.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Other than indulging in a bit of the “security via obscurity” myth (see next paragraph), this is an interesting article.
Mac OS X machines are inherently safer than Windows boxes, regardless of market share or installed base. Although having a smaller user base certainly doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t appear to be the primary reason for the complete lack of Mac OS X viruses. For example, Apple’s Mac OS X has suffered zero (0) virus cases in the over five years (September 13, 2000) since Mac OS X was released to the public. According to Apple, there are “close to 16 million Mac OS X users” in the world and there are still zero (0) viruses. For comparison, according to CNET, the Windows Vista Beta was released “to about 10,000 testers” at the time the first Windows Vista virus arrived. So much for security via obscurity.
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