Linked by David Adams on Thu 7th Feb 2008 04:28 UTC, submitted by Corinne Iozzio
Privacy, Security, Encryption So, you think that since there are so few holes in your Mac OS that you're invulnerable to attack? That may be true for Trojans and viruses, but it's not the case for phishing attacks that can be fiendishly deceptive and destructive. Not worried yet? Read this column and you might think again.
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RE[2]: Okay...
by Headrush on Thu 7th Feb 2008 12:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Okay..."
Headrush
Member since:
2006-01-03

1. Few people use Macs, either on the desktop or the server, so fewer people are looking for security problems who are willing to exploit them.

Is OS X perfect, of course not. But this argument that because of its comparably small user base it hasn't been targeted and probably is much less secure than stated is dumb.

For one, a hacker trying to exploit OS X and succeeding would garner much more attention than another Windows flaw.
(so targeting it would be a big incentive)

And secondly, if that was true, why did so many security flaws/viruses exist for OS 8.x and OS 9.x which had an even smaller user base than OS X? So obviously OS X is doing something right.

2. Apple doesn't use open source software for OS X, so fewer people are handling the code to find exploits. Even when Apple does use open source software, they still have a hard time updating it.

Actually OS X uses a fair amount of open source software including the core system/kernel, Darwin. Sure its not Linux and has the source released the same day, but its a far cry from "hard time updating it."

In regards to phishing attacks, this is obviously becoming an increasing problem for all OSes. Unfortunately no software will ever be enough for these attacks and operate education will remain the best defense.
(Of course signed/verifiable email addresses would help.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Okay...
by segedunum on Thu 7th Feb 2008 14:19 in reply to "RE[2]: Okay..."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Is OS X perfect, of course not. But this argument that because of its comparably small user base it hasn't been targeted and probably is much less secure than stated is dumb.


Based on what?

For one, a hacker trying to exploit OS X and succeeding would garner much more attention than another Windows flaw. (so targeting it would be a big incentive)


Errrr, no. Exploits are found because of people using the software in a wide variety of ways (a lot of people use Windows), and preferably, doing stuff with the source code (open source). The more ways you can use the software and the code, the more problems you're going to find.

And secondly, if that was true, why did so many security flaws/viruses exist for OS 8.x and OS 9.x which had an even smaller user base than OS X? So obviously OS X is doing something right.


You're going to need to verify that. Mac OS 8 and 9 were real pieces of junk, and all it tells you is that problems were easy to find.

Actually OS X uses a fair amount of open source software including the core system/kernel, Darwin.


Darwin is used relatively little, if at all, outside of OS X. There are parts of OS X that remain completely closed. Having an open source project is not good enough. The real issue is whether anyone can actually do anything with the source code.

In regards to phishing attacks, this is obviously becoming an increasing problem for all OSes.


There are many ways in which suspected phishing can be pointed out to a user, and the point is, if Apple are going to promote OS X as a secure OS and tell people they don't need anti-virus and other security software, they need to be bundling more in.

Reply Parent Score: 2