Macs Less Secure Than Windows, but Still Safer

From Wired:

Apple users have less protection from viruses and malicious software than Windows users do. But they’re still safer, security experts agree, because so few malware programs target the Mac.


Apple’s new Snow Leopard operating system, which landed in stores Friday, adds a few security enhancements to protect Mac users from malware. But like previous versions of the Mac OS, Snow Leopard lacks security features that are built in to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, such as full Address Space Layout Randomization to thwart attacks from malicious code.

That makes Macs more vulnerable to attack, explained Charlie Miller, a security researcher and author of the book The Mac Hacker’s Handbook. But despite its weaknesses, Mac users have no reason to panic — yet. Apple’s PC market share is still roughly only about 10 percent, giving hackers and malicious software coders very little economic incentive to target the Mac.

I have always chuckled at the insistence of many Mac users that their computer is “more secure” than Windows. I suppose if you look at it from one standpoint, yeah Macs are more secure. However, as the Wired article points out, they lack security features that have been a standard part of Windows since XP (that would be 2001 for those keeping track).

Now, I have nothing against Macs or Mac users, but there tends to be a certain superiority complex that seems to accompany owning a Mac (not everyone, mind you, I have friends who are Mac users that perfectly normal). I simply get tired of all the misinformed Mac users touting the technological superiority of their computers. Macs are well designed, stable, and fast and work great for a lot of people. I, however, am perfectly happy running Windows 7 (and previously XP). Windows does everything I need and there is a plethora of free software (I know Macs have free software too, but it’s not as abundant) out there that allow me to accomplish many tasks without forking out extra dough.

So, I will continue to proudly use my PC (which I built) and say more power to you if you use a Mac. Just don’t try and sell me on the “mine’s better than yours!” argument. Both OS’s have their strengths and weaknesses and sometimes the supposed strengths of a Mac are simply that it is not as popular as a Windows PC and therefore is not as big a target for the scheming virus gremlins that infect the red-light district of the internet and email inboxes.



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