The anarchist hobby

By David Coursey  |  Posted 2005-03-17 Print this article Print

-hacker factor"> Also, Mac OS X doesnt generate the tremendous hatred that in some circles surrounds anything Microsoft-related. Remove these anarchist hobby-hackers from the mix and your potential threat goes down considerably.
As for these people, Ill just say that what they dont know (or dont realize) about Apple is good news for Mac users.
Another reason is that Apple has implemented a version of "least privilege" computing in OS X. Users may not like having to enter an administrators password every time they try to install software, but the requirement also makes it hard for something unwelcome to appear as well. However, as Windows becomes more buttoned-up and, especially, if Apple gains PC market share on the coattails of its iPod juggernaut, the threats to OS X will almost certainly increase. There will be less opportunity for thievery on the Windows side, the number of Mac users will have risen (if only by a relatively small number), and the bad guys will find OS X exploits that we dont yet know exist. As a Unix, Mac OS X ought to be easier to protect than Windows. Click here to read more about vulnerabilities in Darwin, the implementation of Unix that underlies the Mac OS X operating system. But all of the currently available firewalls, according to a recent review I read, still leave some openings that a hacker might exploit. There is also the problem that not having (m)any viruses means the OS X anti-virus software hasnt been tested under fire in the real-world. This probably isnt a problem, but we really dont know. Another concern is Apples ability to quickly create and distribute emergency fixes, also untested. Right now, Apple has the luxury of being able to issue patches on what appears to be its own schedule. That might not always be the case. And, yes, the sun might not come up tomorrow morning, in which case these Mac OS X concerns will seem like pretty small potatoes. So until bad things start happening to my Macintoshes, Ill just count my blessings and be happy that at least some of my computers dont require a constant watchful eye. Contributing Editor David Coursey has spent two decades writing about hardware, software and communications for business customers. Before joining, David was executive editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk and has been a columnist for PC World, ComputerWorld and other publications. Former executive producer of DEMO and other industry events, he also operates a technology consulting and event management business. A full bio and contact information may be found on his Web site, Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on Apple in the enterprise.

One of technology's most recognized bylines, David Coursey is Special Correspondent for, where he writes a daily Blog ( and twice-weekly column. He is also Editor/Publisher of the Technology Insights newsletter and President of DCC, Inc., a professional services and consulting firm.

Former Executive Editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk, Coursey has also been Executive Producer of a number of industry conferences, including DEMO, Showcase, and Digital Living Room. Coursey's columns have been quoted by both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and he has appeared on ABC News Nightline, CNN, CBS News, and other broadcasts as an expert on computing and the Internet. He has also written for InfoWorld, USA Today, PC World, Computerworld, and a number of other publications. His Web site is

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel