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Re: [wpmac] Mac Security (New York Times)

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  • Chad Smith
    I think both sides are oversimplifying things. It is true - Macs are less of a target. Security through obscurity is very much in play. It is also true that
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 8, 2009
      I think both sides are oversimplifying things.

      It is true - Macs are less of a target. Security through obscurity is very
      much in play.
      It is also true that Mac OS X, being a Unix based system designed from the
      ground up this century, is by its very nature a more secure system.

      It is also true that Windows is a much bigger (read more profitable and more
      headlines grabbing) target than Mac.
      It is also true that Windows is buggy, bloated, and burdened with supporting
      over 15 years of legacy apps and leftover code from an operating system
      designed before there was a world wide web. There is still code from
      Windows 95 in Windows 7. Core code. All of this makes it much more of an
      easy target.

      The expense of Macs also can be prohibited for hackers, (European or
      otherwise), who are not known for paying full price for anything. And the
      Hackintosh scene may change that. (I, for example, have both a MacBook and
      a $350 netbook that is running Mac OS X 10.5.6.)

      However, what that last part overlooks is - hackers are not
      super-intelligent uber-coders who can crank out a world-stopping virus in 60
      minutes with nothing more than a text editor on a Pentium 2. Nor are they
      slick reluctant heroes who can hijack the Pentegon in 60 seconds if they
      have a gun to their heads. They are greedy losers who "stand on the backs
      of giants" by tweaking existing viruses, trojans, and worms to do what they
      want them to do. The term is "Script kiddies". They just lump a bunch of
      scripts that they find on their darknets together to make it do something.

      Are their hackers writing original code? Sure - there would have to be,
      right? But most viruses - the vast majority of them - are just variations
      on a theme. Even this latest major bug "Conficker" was actually "Conflicker
      D" meaning there were at least 3 preceding viruses.

      All that so say - add to the secure nature of Mac OS X, its limitations on
      the hardware it supports, its expense, and its smaller target size - add to
      all that the lack of existing malware raw materials for the hackers to use.
      Then throw in Windows decades of vulenarablities, its familiarity to
      hackers, the vast treasure houses of existing malware to play with, the
      bigger target, its widespread use in businesses, banks, and governments, (IE
      - Where the real money is), and it's much larger marketshare... Mix, bake,
      and serve. Somewhere in there do you get the "true reason" why Macs are
      ultimately pragmatically malware free.

      In the end, though, the reason why doesn't really matter (until that reason
      changes and we're no longer safe). The fact remains I don't need antivirus,
      antispyware, antiadware, etc. software on my MacBook. That's good enough
      for me.

      - Chad Smith
      http://www.chadwsmith.com/


      On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 2:24 AM, Patrick Sheffield
      <psheffield@...>wrote:

      > Another theory put forward used to be that Macs were too expensive for
      > eastern euro-hackers with no budget. But with a VERY active hackintosh
      > scene, that theory is put to rest...
      >
      > Patrick
      >
      > On Apr 7, 2009, at 9:52 PM, Randy B. Singer wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > On Apr 7, 2009, at 5:53 PM, Paul Hogan wrote:
      > >
      > > > The article says:Yet Macs� relative safety is primarily due to their
      > > > still-slim market share.
      > >
      > > I just submitted this to the site. We'll see if they post it:
      > >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >


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