A Simple Numbers Game?ö?ç?ÂOr Is It?

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-06-15 Print this article Print

So it seems that as more people join the ranks of Mac users, malicious hackers will be targeting them more often. It's a simple numbers game. The more people who use an operating system, the more hackers who take notice, thus the greater the chances that an outbreak will occur.

But some don't believe that logic.  They contend that it's Mac OS X that's keeping Mac users safe.  It's not that hackers haven't tried to target Mac users, but they simply can't get the job done, thanks to Mac OS X's security features.

It's a compelling argument.  Apple's OS allows users to run with restricted rights, which limits malicious software from making its way into the OS. Mac OS X also uses sandboxing to protect users. With that help, programs are restricted to a finite number of actions they can perform on the Mac, they have little access to other files and are limited in what other programs they can launch.  Mac OS X also uses library randomization, which, in theory, keeps the malware missing its target.

There's no debating that Mac OS X has some security features that make it a capable operating system. But there's no chance that it can keep its users safe in every instance.  As recent evidence has shown, breaking into Mac OS X-once believed to be an impenetrable fortress-isn't nearly as secure as Apple wants us to believe. 

It's time we all realize that simple fact.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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