Security IT Hub: Apple’s Mac OS X ‘has made security a non-issue for users’

“Sure, everyone knows that new Macs are going to be on Intel hardware, but what does that change mean to an average Mac user? Burton Cohen of TBI Computer (an Apple reseller in Westport, Conn.) thinks it may not mean that much. ‘Most people don’t realize how much was changed in the upgrade from OS X 10.3 to 10.4,’ Cohen says. ‘There was a complete rewrite of the underlying code such that Apple now does all the heavy lifting to make the program run on whatever chip is inside the Mac. If you are using XCode (Apple’s development system), you can change your program to run on Intel hardware with very little fuss. Users don’t care about whatever the underlying hardware is; all they know is that they will be running OS X just like they have been doing,'” Larry Loeb writes for Security IT Hub.

“This, then, is the underappreciated success of OS X: It has made security a non-issue for users. In all the discussions and rumor mongering that is going on about the upcoming hardware changes, there has been absolutely no concern voiced by anyone I’ve encountered about the security implications of such a migration,” Loeb writes. “Mac users have not had to deal with the myriad of vulnerabilities that afflict the Windows user daily (although that could change if the new hardware is able to run Windows natively and thereby encourages the increased use of that OS.) This is a case, as Sherlock Holmes would put it, of the dog that did not bark. Security concerns are somewhat muted for OS X users because there has not up to this point been a catalyst to cause these kinds of concerns to come to the forefront. Things have been working. And when the hardware changes in the future, Mac users will no doubt expect that things will continue to be as boring security-wise as they have been in the past.”

Full article, “Mac Users Miss All the Security Fun,” here.

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Obviously, real estate, architecture, and many, many other Windows-dependent industries would finally be able to consider Apple Macs, as would gamers and a great many more switchers who would be able to run their existing software and replace it over time. Remember, the safest way to run Windows is on your Mac.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Will future Intel-based Apple Macs offer multiple OS worlds via virtualization? – November 16, 2005
Hackers already targeting viruses for Microsoft’s Windows Vista – August 04, 2005
16-percent of computer users are unaffected by viruses, malware because they use Apple Macs – June 15, 2005
ZDNet: How many Mac OS X users affected by the last 100 viruses? None, zero, not one, not ever – August 18, 2005
Intel CEO Otellini: If you want security now, buy a Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC – May 25, 2005
Apple touts Mac OS X security advantages over Windows – April 13, 2005
97,467 Microsoft Windows viruses vs. zero for Apple Mac’s OS X – April 05, 2005
Apple’s Mac OS X is virus-free – March 18, 2005
Cybersecurity advisor Clarke questions why anybody would buy from Microsoft – February 18, 2005
Security test: Windows XP system easily compromised while Apple’s Mac OS X stands safe and secure – November 30, 2004
Microsoft: The safest way to run Windows is on your Mac – October 08, 2004
Information Security Investigator says switch from Windows to Mac OS X for security – September 24, 2004
Columnist tries the ‘security through obscurity’ myth to defend Windows vs. Macs on virus front – October 1, 2003
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Fortune columnist: ‘get a Mac’ to thwart viruses; right answer for the wrong reasons – September 02, 2003
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth – August 28, 2003
Virus and worm problems not just due to market share; Windows inherently insecure vs. Mac OS X – August 24, 2003

34 Comments

  1. Despite supposedly being very knowledgeable about the technical aspects of OSX, there is still an underlying sense of ‘security through obscurity’ that the author implies here.

    All I know is, the processor isnt going to make a damn bit of difference to end users for the most part. However, the startegy of the shift to Intel is brilliant and unfolding before our very eyes from a business strategy standpoint. Eliminating the biggest objection of Windows users switching to the Mac is at the heart of this strategy, and it will work just as it did when Apple weened people slowly off OS9 onto OSX.

    It’s gonna get real interesting the next 2 years

  2. When selling the virtues of Macs to our potential Switcher friends, family, and asssoicates, we still need to remember to tell them that this does not exempt them from phishing and other forms of social engineering security attacks. Just a reminder if a Mac is on anyone you know’s holiday list.

    That said, I’m glad I don’t have to have to deal with all the Windows malware problems (unless you’re paying me to do so! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> )

    MW = effects

  3. qka writes: “ this does not exempt them from phishing and other forms of social engineering security attacks”

    I love phishing. When i get a scam mail from “eBay” or a bank, etc., i go out to the bogus site and enter bogus info. Funny how any combination of user names and passwords seem to work for log-in purposes! And i love to enter made-up credit card and pin info.

    I like to think of it as SPAM for the phishers. If everybody did that, and 99% of the info they collect is bogus, it would cease to be profitable, and increase the likelihood of their getting caught when they try to use the bogus info.

    In any event, it’s fun to mess with the heads of those trying to mess with yours! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”vampire” style=”border:0;” />

  4. “Most people don’t realize how much was changed in the upgrade from OS X 10.3 to 10.4,’ Cohen says. ‘There was a complete rewrite of the underlying code such that Apple now does all the heavy lifting to make the program run on whatever chip is inside the Mac…”

    Is this why Mail runs slower on Tiger than it did on Panther?

  5. MDN seems to be really enamored with the idea of running Windows on a Mac, as if it is going to save the day for Apple. Strange. What about WMA on your iPod then, does MDN support that too?

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