NY Times blows it: repeats ‘Security via Obscurity’ myth

“When news like the rampaging Conficker virus hits, Mac users often feel a certain sense of comfort–if not smug superiority–knowing it doesn’t affect them,” Riva Richmond “reports” for The NY Times.

“But just how relaxed (or smug) should Mac users be? It’s true that very few viruses have been written for Macs–and none are spreading actively right now. Similarly, hacker programs distributed by malicious Web sites typically run only on PCs,” Richmond “reports.”

“Yet Macs’ relative safety is primarily due to their still-slim market share. They’re simply a waste of time for today’s attackers, who are trying to accomplish crime on a large scale by infiltrating millions of computers. And there’s nothing inherently more secure about a Mac. Researchers found 26 vulnerabilities in OSX in 2008, about the same as in Windows Vista (27), according to security software maker Symantec. If its market share rises enough, the Mac will become a target and attacks will succeed,” Richmond “reports.”

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Riva, Riva, Riva.

What we have here is a typical example of the Stockholm Syndrome/Cognitive Dissonance-afflicted myth recitation to which the Windows sufferers cling so desperately. Riva, of course, may simply be suffering from ignorance.

Once again, it is utterly illogical to state or imply that the Mac platform is secure via obscurity. Why, if obscurity means security, in April 2007 was there a virus for iPods running Linux (a few thousand devices total, to wildly overestimate, in all the world), but there are no viruses in 7+ years for the over 30 million Mac OS X computers that are currently online? And, why would criminals not target the most affluent personal computer users, the tens of millions of Mac users around the world?

We’ve asked those and similar questions for years, yet the silence remains deafening and telling. Instead we get a steady stream of lies and/or ignorance, like Riva’s.

The idea that Windows’ morass of security woes exists because more people use Windows and that Macs have no security problems because fewer people use Macs, is simply not true. 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, Richmond’s colleague, The New York Times’ David Pogue, provides a concise mea culpa on the subject of the “Mac Security Via Obscurity” myth here. Riva, honey, read your own paper’s archives.

Simple logic is certainly not what AV software peddlers, Windows PC box assemblers, and the leeches affixed to the Windows ecosystem want people to hear. Fear is what they’re after. The sheep must be kept in the Windows pen, no matter the cost to reputations, reality, productivity, sanity, etc. Far too many have far too much invested in Microsoft Windows for them to stand idly by and let it all slip away due to a vastly superior, vastly more secure solution from Apple. But, slip away it does nonetheless.

Every single time there is a Windows virus outbreak, the “Security Via Obscurity” myth gets trotted out. This is done for a reason, even though it gets more ridiculous with each passing year.

“Security via Obscurity” is a defense mechanism for the delusional and also tool for Microsoft apologists and/or those who profit from Windows that’s designed to be used when attempting keep Windows sufferers from straying. 30 million Mac OS X installs is not “obscure” at all, but over seven (7+) years of Mac users surfing the Net unimpeded certainly is “secure.” Besides social engineering scams (phishing, trojans; no OS can instill common sense) the only thing by which Mac users are really affected are large swaths of compromised Windows machines slowing down the ‘Net with spam and nefarious botnet traffic targeted at exploiting even more insecure Windows boxes.

The. Problem. Is. Windows. Get a Mac.

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