MacObserver studied McAfee and Virex virus data, and found that “out of about 71,000 viruses, only 579 were for Macs, all but 26 of those were MS Word & Excel macro viruses, and none affected OS X.” Is this phenomenon strictly related to the size of the installed base, or inherent to security infrastructure on either platform? Jason Deraleau at O’Reilly says Size Doesn’t Matter.
I’m not sure the question is easily answerable, but in the end, Mac users fly under the radar. Though we do still have to deal with inboxes flooded by sobig and friends.
Music: Modest Mouse :: Life Like Weeds
One Reply to “Under the Radar”
I think it’s a bit more complex than that – size does have an influence.
Having more Windows machines not only means a juicier target for the virus writers, it also means that most virus writers use Windows as target because that the system they learned programming on.
Furthermore you have more non-geeks among the users. For years now users have been warned against clicking on attachments sent to them from strangers, and yet they still do it because the warning is too technical to remember.
System architecture however does make a difference. While I can imagine that it’s possible to run a malicious program from within Mail.app and how it could wreak havoc (access to the Addressbook for example is unsecured), the amount of damage it could do is still limited due to the tighter security on OS-X systems, and the true nature of the malicious attachments is far more difficult to hide.
As a sidenote: just last week the company security dept sent out a reminder to always use PCs installed with the corporate diskimage for the highest level of protection. Obvious objections (like that using OS-X would increase my security and productivity) aside, one thing this image did on my PC was to leave the main hard drive open for unlimited access to everybody else on the internal network.
You may want to read the last sub-sentence again :-)