“As part of its current ad campaign, Apple suggests that Macs aren’t vulnerable to the same Internet security problems PCs are,” Todd Spangler writes for Baseline Magazine.
“But according to a new study by security vendor Symantec, the number of vulnerabilities identified in Apple’s Safari browser in the first half of 2006 doubled over the prior six months—and it increased its window of exposure to Net-based exploits from zero days to five,” Spangler writes.
Spangler writes, “Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser still has a longer window of exposure—the time between when code exploiting a vulnerability appears and when a fix is available—and a greater total number of security holes. But Apple ‘is headed in the opposite direction’ with respect to its browser’s vulnerability to Internet-based threats, says Dave Cole, director of Symantec’s Security Response team.”
Spangler writes, “Apple’s marketing campaign implies Macs are not vulnerable to the same kinds of Internet security threats that Windows PCs are. In a recent Apple TV ad, an actor playing the Mac character says to the PC character: ‘I run Mac OS X, so I don’t have to worry about your spyware and viruses.’
Spangler writes, “Symantec’s Cole says it’s a fallacy to claim that any Web browser is inherently safer than another. ‘The reality is, Apple has lower market share’ than Windows PC makers, he says. ‘Attackers are driven by money, so they go after the bigger market. If you have lower market share, you’re not more secure—you’re just less interesting [to a hacker].'”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Stormy” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, we’re shaking with fear. Let us know when Macs are hit with spyware or viruses in the wild, okay? Until then, we’re not buying what Symantec et al are peddling. While smaller market share is no doubt yet another advantage for Mac security, Mac OS X is inherently more secure than Windows. With 20+ million Macs in the world, why has there been no single successful Mac OS X virus in 5+ years? Shouldn’t there be a few or at least one?
Remember, do not download, authorize, and install things on your Mac from untrusted websites.
By design, Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows. Period. For reference and reasons why Mac OS X is more secure than Windows, read The New York Times’ David Pogue’s mea culpa on the subject of the “Mac Security Via Obscurity” myth here.
Macs account for roughly 10% of the world’s personal computer users — (some say as much as 16%) — so the first half of the myth doesn’t even stand up to scrutiny. Macs aren’t “obscure” at all. Therefore, the Apple Mac platform’s ironclad security simply cannot logically be attributed to obscurity.
There are zero-percent (0%) of viruses for the Mac OS X platform that should, logically, have some 10-16% of the world’s viruses if platforms’ install bases dictate the numbers of viruses. The fact that Mac OS X has zero (0) viruses totally discounts “security via obscurity.” There should be at least some Mac OS X viruses. There are none. The reason for this fact is not attributable solely to “obscurity,” it’s attributable to superior security design.
Still not convinced? Try this one on for size: according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs at WWDC, there are “19 million Mac OS X users” in the world and there are still zero (0) viruses. 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 the security via obscurity myth.
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