Re: [wpmac] Re: Thinking of getting a Mac...double entendre
- I disagree with your, Randy, to the extent you are interpreting my
comment to be an all-or-nothing argument. There are a lot of factors
that make a platform more secure. But it's naive to suggest that a
small market share is not a factor in that safety. Much malware is
targeted at harvesting information from users that can then be
bought, sold, or traded. Targeting many development hours on a Mac
where you're likely to yield a much smaller harvest does not make
economic sense for a hacker. Of course, if that small platform is
inherently more secure it tips the balance farther against the hack.
However, if Apple had 80% market share, despite its additional
security, it would be a much more appealing target. So I suspect
it's a combination of factors, and market share is one those.
I distinctly remember reading about some research that showed there
was a minimum market-share percentage required before a platform
would become a lucrative enough target for malware writers. I have
searched and searched for the article, but must not be using the
right search terms.
Anyhow, my point is that market share must be a *factor*. But I
agree with you that it, alone, is not dispositive in Apple's case.
On Dec 9, 2007, at 4:48 AM, Randy B. Singer wrote:
> On Dec 8, 2007, at 2:57 AM, Joe Edgell wrote:
>> Personally I'm happy to be using a computer with only 6% market
>> share. Less malware!
> The "less malware due to less market share" argument, I'm afraid,
> doesn't stand up to a close inspection.
> "If the Mac’s market share is five percent, then shouldn’t it have
> five percent of the viruses? It ought to have seen 5,700 viruses last
> year, not zero. Clearly, there’s something else at work here, and
> I’ll tell you what it is: Mac OS X is simply harder to hack."
> A couple of very interesting articles on the subject:
> Broken Windows
> So Witty (followup to Broken Windows)
> The Mac OS X Malware Myth Continues
> Randy B. Singer
> Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
> Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
> Yahoo! Groups Links
"Lead me not into temptation; I can find it myself." –Rita Mae Brown
- On Dec 27, 2007, at 2:00 PM, Face Uranus wrote:
> Viruses for profit, I'm not so sure, but spyware andTrue. But since there is no spyware or adware for the Macintosh that
> adware is most definitely created with a profit in
is disseminated via Web sites or via e-mail, it is kind of moot at
> . YouI'm afraid that you have swallowed the propaganda of anti-Macintosh
> can't say that since Mac has 5% market share it should
> have 5% of the viruses. It just doesn't work that way.
> The mac is a little more difficult to crack than a pc
> but there's no incentive to even take a shot when the
> target is so small and pcs are everywhere.
bigots. This propaganda doesn't stand up to even the smallest amount
of logical scrutiny.
Apple estimates that there is an installed base of close to 30
million Macs. That is not an insignificant market (for malware
writers or legitimate software developers.)
To say that there aren't enough Macs out there for malware writers to
find the Mac to be a significant target, you would have to extend
that to say that there aren't enough Macs for anyone, even legitimate
software developers, to find the Mac market to be profitable. But we
know that that is far from the case. There are tens of thousands of
software applications that developers have written for the Macintosh:
I highly recommend that you have a look at the articles that I have
Apple Changes Its Tune on Viruses by David Pogue
Mac Viruses By The Numbers
So Witty (followup to Broken Windows)
Is Windows inherently more vulnerable to malware attacks than OS X?
> One thing that worries me is the fact that so manyWhat, *exactly*, is there that can attack a Macintosh that has you
> macs are sitting around without any protection under
> the assumption that they are safe simply because they
> are macs.
so worried? (I'm not saying that there is no malware for the
Macintosh...there is. But most of it is extremely rare, or it can be
> When that first virus does hit it will hitHow do you know this? There have already been attempts at Mac
> all of us hard.
viruses. Not only have they not hit "all of us hard", they didn't work.
And what, specifically, do you propose that Mac users do to prepare
for an unknown virus?
> And are you absolutely certain thatYes, I'm really, really certain. For two reasons. First, there is
> your mac doesn't already have malware installed?
> Really certain?
very little malware for the Macintosh, and what there is is known,
and exceedingly rare.
Second, I've been using Virus Barrier since around the time OS X was
released...about six years ago. Other than Windows virus attachments
to e-mail, and the odd Word macro virus, it has never detected any
malware on my Mac. Macworld tested all of the anti-virus programs
for the Mac, and Virus Barrier was rated highest:
There probably will be a significant virus for the Macintosh at some
point. But people have been predicting this for six years now, and
it still isn't here. The next virus for OS X, will be *the first*.
The next one for Windows will be somewhere in the 180,000 range:
Paranoia about malware is a Windows thing. My guess is that you are
a recent switcher. This is why you switched, so that you don't have
to be paranoid about malware anymore. I know its hard to give up old
habits, but for now you can reserve your energy for getting your work
done, instead of using it to protect your computer from malware.
Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance