Friday, April 22, 2005

Mac Viruses vs. Windows Viruses

England's Alternative IT paper, The Register, published an article yesterday analyzing Apple's 40% Mac unit growth last quarter. Apple owes this growth to viruses, according to the article. On the Wintel side, viruses, trojan horses and worms are causing IT professionals to bite their nails to the quick.

On the Mac side, the iPod's "halo effect" and Wintel (in)security fears have caused an upsurge in interest in the Mac as an alternative to the insecurity of Wintel and inelegance of Linux. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Apple has moved quietly in the Enterprise space with its XServe products and with SMB and other Windows integration. Finally, the real geeks of the IT world have recognized that Apple computers represent a simple, cheap and attractive entré into the world of UNIX computing.


Anonymous said...

I think that guy is wrong. It is the critical mass and the obscurity of OS X that precludes it from the land of Viruses. Look at Mozilla for an example. It has benefited from not being the target of exploits for sometime due to its obscurity. But, now that it has become a major player in the browser world we are starting to see malware that takes advantages of exploits. Last week, for the first time, Mozilla was forced to push out updates to the browser to close certain security holes.
All I am saying is that OS X is not immune from these bastards that have nothing else to do but write nasty pieces of code that ruin my Friday afternoons. It is just that OS X is not on their radar. And increased sales and articles like these are exactly what will spark their interest.


Chintan K. Amin said...


I totally agree with you. I will reread the article, but I am not sure that his point was that OS X is totally secure. No OS is, as you know. Instead, I think his point was that twofold: first, no matter why, OS X does not have the same number of security problems that Windows does; and second, that OS X is inherently more secure than Windows.

I agree with both points. On the second, more controversial point, I think that a number of the Windows exploits out there take advantage of "back doors" that MS leaves unlocked on purpose for functionality reasons. These aren't actually unintentional security holes -- rather, they are intentionally-created "hooks" into the low level OS. On the other hand, the BSD subsystem of OS X typically leaves these "back doors" closed.