At the end of last week I asked which is the more secure – the Apple Mac or a Windows machine. As there were only a dozen comments its hard to draw too many conclusions but if you trawl the web you will undoubtedly see that there are Apple Mac fanboys as well as Windows proponents who will argue this point until they are blue in the face.
The truth of the matter is that Windows machines do indeed face the majority of security issues. They have done so for quite some time and probably will do for a few more years to come. Mac users, however, should perhaps try feel some affinity for their Windows brethren as things are beginning to change.
The Apple Mac is not totally immune to viruses, spyware or hacking attempts.
Historically there have always been far more Windows based machines in use than Macs. This has meant that it has been far more lucrative for the bad guys to target machines that run Microsoft operating systems.
Now, however, the Mac is really beginning to grow in popularity, meaning that the Apple is becoming a juicier target. Industry experts are tipping the Mac to grow its market share of desktop machines from 5% to 10% over the next couple of years. In the new notebook market those figures are much, much higher. As the Mac’s popularity grows so their attractiveness to hackers increases.
The Times They Are A Changing
The landscape has also changed in the security arena – the hackers, crackers and authors of spam, malware and viruses no longer work alone from their bedrooms. In recent years they have teamed together to form large, dare I say it ‘professional’, gangs and they now enjoy economies of scale both in terms of time and costs. They can send millions of spam emails today for the same cost of sending a few thousand a couple of years ago. If they are creating a new Trojan for a Windows based machine then they now have the time and expertise to dedicate to creating something similar for the Mac as well.
It wasn’t so long ago that there was uproar over a a Trojan hidden inside an illegal copy of iWork ’09 on a peer to peer sharing site so don’t believe that the Apple Mac is invulnerable. The time is coming when the Macintosh will become a genuine target for a whole host of security issues.
Are you ready for it?