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Entry 297, on 2006-03-10 at 12:34:39 (Rating 2, Computers)

In recent weeks there have been several news stories and controversies relating to the security of Mac OS X. First there was the Trojan propagated through instant messaging, then the script downloadable through Safari and Mail, then the controversy regarding the relative number of security vulnerabilities related to Windows and Mac OS, and finally the Mac server which was supposedly cracked within 30 minutes of being put on the Internet.

The fact is that there has never been a major security problem with Macs, and despite this latest round of stories, there still isn't. There is a big difference between a theoretical vulnerability being discovered and malware in the wild making use of that vulnerability. And there is a big difference between a Mac being cracked in very contrived circumstances, and a properly setup (or even a Mac with default configuration) being cracked.

I'm not naive enough to suggest we shouldn't be careful about how our Macs are configured, and I'm sure there will be viruses in the future, but the idea being circulated by some people that Macs are just as insecure as Windows is totally ridiculous.

The misleading reporting and invalid analysis on this is so bad that I almost think there is a group of Microsoft supporters out there starting a deliberate campaign against the Mac. If that is true I guess its a good sign that they consider the Mac a big enough threat to the established Wintel standard that it is worth the effort of attacking in this way.


Comment 1 (184) by Bill on 2006-03-10 at 12:49:40:

Do you mean there are no Mac viruses? Should I have anti-virus software on my Mac or not?


Comment 2 (185) by OJB on 2006-03-10 at 15:06:48:

That's a tough one to answer. There are no real Mac viruses now, but there could be in future. It is possible for a Mac to spread a PC virus to a PC, so anti-virus software might make you more popular with your PC colleagues.

Also remember that a lot of anti-virus software, itself causes problems. A Mac user here had files removed from his machine because Sophos though they were infected with a virus. They weren't, but his machine has been crippled as a result!


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