At Techworld we wouldn't normally write about 'Apple' and 'security' in the same breath, and for a very simple reason - Apple security problems are rarely interesting enough.
The world's cleverest malware writers devote their efforts to creating fiendish programs for Windows to the extent that all other platforms barely exist in their minds.
Certainly, there have been the odd exceptions to this rule, and of course Apple users are not immune from social engineering gullability scams such as 419s, from spam, and from vulnerabilities in OSX that might cause problems if left unpatched. But if you want to write about state-of-the-art malware, it's got to be Windows, especially XP.
Perhaps this received view misses the point. A few days ago, a new version of the RSPlug.x Trojan was reported by a security company called called Intego. The company, which makes its money making only Apple security software, claimed it was not scaremongering. Somebody was programming Trojans to hit OSX, and coming up with new variants over time.
This is still small-scale stuff by PC standards, but that is a relative measurement. Because the PC Is attacked by a huge variety of malware reflects its 90+ market share, not the fact that malware writers want to punish Windows. The Mac is starting to attract a little of the same attention, not helped by the fact its market share has moved up in the home sector (its global market share is still well under 5 percent thanks to business PCs, to hit around 10 percent or more. One in ten computers in the critical home market is a tempting target.
What matters more here is that Mac users seem to be blind to the threat that their beloved Macs will end up playing host to Trojans, backdoors or botnets. Experts with a foot in the Mac camp tell me that the average user is still in denial, seeing security as a Windows issue. Does the average Apple user even run a security program?
Apple compounds this with its nervousness about the topic. The company is still accused of taking its time over security patches, not to mention the accusation in recent days that it removed security documents recommending the use of AV.
"The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box. Since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, running anti-virus software may offer additional protection," said Apple in one of its masterfully complacent responses.
Apple is so fixated on the myth that its platform is inherently more secure (just as it is somehow superior in every other way, another exaggeration) that it can't bear the pain of admitting its users might have to put up with the inconvenience of running an AV program.
If this attitude continues, sooner or later, both Apple and its users are in for a rude shock.
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