OS X Security

Another vulnerability has been found in OS X related to their disk image format. This is on an operating system that openly thumbs its nose at Windows for being insecure. There is even a commercial poking fun at the viruses that plague so many Windows users but seem to ignore the Mac.But the irony is that Windows is a victim of its success. Regardless of whether you like Windows or not, the fact of the matter is that it is the dominant operating system. According to the MarketShare service by Net Applications, the market share for Windows was 94% compared to 5% for the Mac for general usage.

The same way that software developers tend to develop for platforms that allow them to reach the largest possible audience, hackers and virus writers target systems for maximum return. It is simply human nature. People do not expend effort to receive minimal returns. For this reason, IE and Windows have both been heavily targeted where for the time being, the Mac is simply a curiousity for malware authors.

Please understand that i’m not making a statement about whether one operating system is more or less secure than the other. I make my living developing software for both platforms and enjoy the unique features of each. I’ve enjoyed the rivalry between the two companies and believe that the users have thoroughly benefited from the constant one-upmanship. What I am saying is that the state of security for each is not relevant. As long as humans use computers, there will be a way to exploit systems and take advantage of their users.

Currently, there are hundreds of viruses with thousands of variants for Windows operating systems. For the Mac, every single individual vulnerability makes the news partly because there are so few and partly because the Mac is marketed as a much more secure operating system.

I predict that the number of viruses, exploits, spyware and other security problems experienced by the Mac will be directly correlated to its market share.


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