Friday, February 8

Microsoft is Stupid, Apple is Not (I didn't make the title up)

Recently I read a story about how Mac users are stupid and that eventually viruses will kill us all and pillage our warez on the OS X platform.  

While there has been an increase of attacks on the mac platform, most still, are client side.  Attacks against Quicktime, attacks against Safari, Safari on the iPhone, etc..  But they are still client side.  Do I think this is any less of a threat?  No, because you will, no matter what, have dumb users that refuse to patch their machines, not-heed "workarounds" (like turning off rtsp for example), and what not. 

I read this article today entitled "Microsoft is Stupid, Apple is Not" about how Apple conscientiously made the decision awhile back to get rid of the Mac OS and switch to the Unix based (freebsd based for you purists, with a Mach kernel) OS X (or 10 if you like that) that we have now.  While in the meantime Windows has had to deal with legacy software and compatibility with old stuff.  I think it was a great decision, and that's what made me come back to the Mac platform (I used it when I was in high school, OS 7-8 timeframe.  My school was very Mac centric, except for Keyboarding class, and we all know, if you've read my blog for awhile, how keyboarding class turned out.)  I think both articles are worth a read.   I also think that Linux is in the same boat as OS X is in this case.  Security through obscurity?  Maybe.  But I tend to think that the OS itself is more secure.

What do I think?  I think eventually there will be a bigger threat against the Mac Platform, I think it will continue to be mostly client side, I think that occasionally there will be "remote server side" attacks (such as the mDNSResponder exploit against Bonjour), I don't think we'll ever have the big "worm" problems that Windows has been plagued with in the past with Blaster and Code Red and such.  I think Trojans will play a role.  I think Malware and Spyware MIGHT play a roll, but I doubt it.  

I think OS X is inherently "out of the box" more secure than Windows.  (What open ports are on OSX by default?  5353?)  I think OS X's bsd underpinnings will help keep the stack and the permissions of separate users, and the privilege separation that you must have in order to install or modify any "system" settings will keep alot of stuff at bay.  However, you must take into account the "stupid user" factor.  And unfortunately..  that can be high.

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