Mac's Supposed Immunity to Security Threats Gone Forever: 10 Reasons Why

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-26 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: The days of Mac OS X being seemingly immune from viruses and other malware are gone forever as Apple has finally acknowledged the existence of fake Macintosh antivirus scams.

Over the years, Mac users have been conditioned to believe that their computers were immune from security threats. The folks who went to the Apple Store to get a Mac were told by friends, family and even Apple that they were much safer using a Mac than they would be with a Windows-based computer. And so, over the years, a general sense of complacency has emerged.

But that house of cards came crumbling down as of late when Mac Defender starting making its rounds in the Mac ecosystem. Apple took too long to respond to the issue, and as expected, many of its supporters called it a red herring. But as the number of people who complained about these fake antivirus scams started to pile up, it quickly became clear that it was not a joke. Mac Defender, along with other malicious variants related to it, has become a major problem for Apple users.

The time has come for those folks and all others to acknowledge the simple fact that many security experts have been saying for far too long: Macs are not immune from security threat and users have to protect themselves.

Read on to find out why:

1. Perception is everything

Over the years, Mac users have been under the erroneous belief that they were safe from any malicious software that was affecting Windows PCs. Granted, infecting a Mac with malware may be somewhat more difficult, but it can be done, as Mac Defender has proved. Now, all those malicious hackers who might have perceived Mac OS X to not be worth their time could be changing their minds. Perception is everything. Among scammers the perception is shifting toward believing attacking Mac OS X is a worthwhile exploit.

2. The criminals see a money-making opportunity

Going forward, a growing number of cyber-criminals will attack Mac OS X because they see it as a fine money-making opportunity. Make no mistake, the reason cyber-criminals attack machines is to turn a profit for their efforts. Considering Macs are exploitable, hardly ever secured by an anti-malware program and run by people who are cynical when it comes to security, they seem like a better money-making opportunity than ever.

3. Users became lazy

Unfortunately, Mac users are simply lazier than Windows users when it comes to security because they are complacent. They believe they're safe, and they don't spend enough time thinking about protecting themselves when they use a Mac. A very small number of Mac owners are running security software as there is still a large contingent of folks who believe there's nothing to worry about. As long as those people continue on that path, cyber-criminals will keep attacking Mac OS X.

4. The threats are everywhere now

More than ever, people around the globe are facing threats from all sides. Not only do they need to worry about malicious files in email attachments, but they need to think about issues cropping up on the Web, in social networks and elsewhere. Simply put, the number of places malicious files can be hiding nowadays is greater than ever. There isn't a single Mac user who's immune to that.



 
 
 
 
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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

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























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date
Rocket Fuel