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ECT News Community   »   MacNewsWorld Talkback   »   Re: Macs, Hackers and the Computer Security Game

Re: Macs, Hackers and the Computer Security Game
Posted by: Paul Korzeniowski 2006-11-04 09:32:26
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Computer security is a game of leapfrog in which vendors plug certain vulnerabilities and hackers find new ones. This game has lead to a new platform -- the Macintosh -- becoming the apple of some hackers' eyes. "Recently, there has been a lot of interest among the hacking community in attacking the Macintosh," notes Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at market research firm Enterprise Strategy Group. This interest is translating into the discovery of more system vulnerabilities.

Re: Macs, Hackers and the Computer Security Game
Posted by: rfennimore 2006-11-07 16:31:39 In reply to: Paul Korzeniowski
These articles comparing Mac vs Linux vs Windows security are very misleading, so perhaps we can just clear up a few things.
First, it is correct to say that Mac's are not bullet-proof, but then no operating system is. About the closest thing there is to bullet-proof in an operating system is OpenBSD. OpenBSD is a Unix operating system, who's engine is very similar to that of the Mac, which is based on FreeBSD Unix.
To start going on about the numbers of vulnerabilities in Mac software is very misleading though, and frankly I think it's irresponsible journalism. Why?, well for starters, one of the biggest (if not, THE biggest) threat to IT today is "malware". Especially the kind that installs itself without the users knowledge.
Most Mac, Unix, and Linux users don't use software (antivirus) to protect the operating system from malware because they do not run as the "Administrator" (aka the "root" account in Unix). In fact, if Windows users didn't run as the Administrator (and most do), then they could almost (notice I said "almost") be safe without antivirus too. Combine that with the fact that for every Unix based piece of malware there are about 10,000 for Windows.
Based on those metrics I would have to say that you are about 100,000 times safer running a Unix based operating system on the Internet as you are running Windows.
Who cares how many (theoretical) vulnerabilities there are on the Mac? Perhaps you could base your reports on "real world" metrics.
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