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Mac OS X a growing target amongst hackers

updated 11:00 am EST, Mon December 31, 2007

Mac OS X a growing target

Apple's Mac OS X operating system -- which the company advertises as more secure than Microsoft Windows -- is coming under increased scrutiny by security specialists and underground crackers as the platform increases in market share. After repeatedly posting record quarters and announcing a growth rate well ahead of the personal computer industry in general, Apple is fast appearing on the radar of more and more hackers across the globe. Infoworld reports that "The days when you can assume that Apple's products are exempt from harm are over."

While attacks against Mac OS X and other devices like the iPhone are still rare, IDC analyst Chris Christiansen is warning Mac users of the growing threat.

"Most Mac users take security too lightly. In fact, most are quite proud of the fact that they don't run any security at all," Christiansen said. "That's an open door; at some point it will be exploited."

In 2006 the National Institute of Standards and Testing counted 106 'vulnerabilities' in Mac OS X, with 78 vulnerabilities appearing during the first six months of 2007. Those numbers compare to Microsoft's Windows XP, which had 55 vulnerabilities in 2006 and just 19 in the first six months of 2007. The recently-released Windows Vista, meanwhile, braved 19 vulnerabilities in 2007.

"Apple has better commercials, but the Mac is no harder to break into than a Windows PC," said Gartner security analyst John Pescatore. The analyst added that most IT departments can automatically patch large numbers of PCs simultaneously, while Macs usually require updates one at a time, according to Infoworld.

by MacNN Staff



  1. boris_cleto

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Blah Blah Blah

    Be afraid, buy our security products.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    WOW Mac Viruses abound

    WOW, I guess that explains the thousands of Mac viruses in the wild. I have just been fighting them off, one after the other.

    I guess I should have gone VISTA. :-)

    OH, wait, I have no Mac virus protecting and yet have gotten no viruses in the last 5 years. Maybe I am the only one.????

    After all, with all these security company sales people telling me how vunerabal I am, I must be in danger, right???

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's FUD time again

    It's still not about market's about how the operating system is designed.

    Jesus, is this the kind of FUD we're going to have to put up with in 2008?

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They are implying that the only reason Macs don't have all the same security issues as Windozes is b/c there have just been fewer Macs in the world. This is completely false. While I do not doubt that more "hackers" will attempt to breakthrough the Macs security, I doubt it will prove very fruitful and probably me more discouraging to those that try. I often explain the difference b/t Mac and Windows security as a wall, where the mac has a single concrete wall, Windows has a cinder-block wall with each joint being a vulnerability; the attempt is to describe the Mac OX single kernel vs. the strung together Windows OS'.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Firewalls & routers...

    ...and avoiding emailing sites are simple precautions but in my experience many peecee users don't do this either - my router reported 8-10 worm attacks per minute & I never had a virus in 3 years of 24/7 XP pc connection to the web...

    Drivers' lessons for the web anyone?

  1. jameshays

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Leave Jesus out of this..

    I'd like to see proof to their claims. Prove to me that my mac isn't safe. We've played this game before.

  1. godrifle

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I don't have to update the macs in my labs one at a time. Haven't had to do that since, oh, OS 8.

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How many times are we

    going to have to endure moronic statements such as this?

    "but the Mac is no harder to break into than a Windows PC"

    When there is proof of a successful attack it still would not justify a statement like this.

  1. eggman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ho hum

    It seems like at least once a week MacNN has to print one of these articles about how vulnerable the Mac is purported to be by security experts who use completely context-free "statistics" and unsupported assertions to alarm us with the news that Macs are as susceptible to virus attacks as PCs are (if not more!!!).

    In other news: dark is, in fact, brighter than light, and down is higher than up.

  1. limey1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Desperate Housewives...

    Desperation on the part of the Anti-Mac fanatics spreading their regular FUD. But more importantly the desperation of the Security Software Industry as they see their business disappearing up the OS X vacuum cleaner.

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