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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

'Worms' Turn on Apple Macs, Bigger Target as Sales Boom

I've easily found a lot to dislike about this article, which presents items as facts that are definitely not facts. For example, the title alone is a joke. Have Mac "sales boomed" really? Or has the iPod made up the slack while Mac sales rose steadily or evened out? But this line just slays me:
The Mac's tiny share of the PC market, which ranges from 2% to 5%, according to most estimates...
Are you telling me that a writer for the Wall Street Journal can't look up simple market share numbers? Apple's market share, right now, using the latest figures, is 2.28 percent, worldwide. End of story. It's not 5 percent. And it hasn't been 5 percent for ... what? a decade? It's astonishing that this myth is continued by the mainstream press.

In any event, the point of the article is sound:
In the past two weeks, information-security companies like Symantec Inc., Sophos PLC and McAfee Inc. have identified several security issues related to the latest version of Apple's Mac operating system, called OS X. Among the concerns: two "worms," programs written by unknown hackers that were designed to spread themselves to other Macs through Apple's iChat instant-messaging software and Bluetooth wireless-communications capability.

And in a reminder that Macs, like Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software, also contain potentially worrisome security holes, a German graduate student last week discovered a vulnerability in OS X that could let a hacker install potentially damaging code on a Mac through the systems' Safari Web browser.

Security experts believe it is only a matter of time before more-virulent forms of malware for Macs appear.

Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering at Symantec's security-response operation, predicts there will be a "gradual erosion" of the idea that Macs are a safer operating system than Windows.
Obviously. But maybe if the mainstream press spent less time talking about the supposed inherent superiority of OS X, this sort of explanation wouldn't be required. Macs are safer than Windows simply because so much fewer people use OS X and therefore hackers don't target that system. It's simple and it's obvious. If more people used OS X, hackers would attack it more often. End of story.

Now, OS X may be "better" than Windows in your opinion. That's fine. In my opinion, OS X is, in fact, "better" than Windows in some ways, but not as good in others. But some things can be measured quantitatively, and there is little doubt that we'll see more OS X hacks as sales continue to rise. Assuming they do that, of course.
[ Posted at 7:45 AM | Permalink ]


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