Cyber-criminals Happy with Mac Status Quo

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


5. The security software isn't up-to-par

Those who use security software on Mac OS X will quickly realize that, in many cases, the programs just don't do enough to keep people secure. It's a major issue that hopefully the security community will address quickly. In my experience, many security programs just don't work as well or provide as comprehensive protection on a Mac as they do on Windows. Finding the best solution is like finding a needle in a haystack. The longer that takes, the worse it will be for Mac users.

6. Mac sales are on the rise

Security experts have said all along that the main reason Windows has been attacked so heavily over the years is the popularity of the platform. With millions of people around the globe running Windows computers every single minute, cyber-criminals enjoy a target-rich environment. Apple's low OS market share has caused the criminals to ignore it. But things are changing. Mac sales are on the rise, and a growing number of people are at least warming to the idea of using Apple's operating system. As more people opt for Macs, expect more cyber-criminals to focus their attention on Mac OS X.

7. Windows users know more about security than ever before

Though malicious hackers are still having little trouble breaking into unsecured Windows machines around the world, Microsoft has done a much better job over the years of informing the public of the dangers of not securing their machines. That factor has made it somewhat more difficult for hackers to find easy targets. Mac users, on the other hand, are not as prepared as they could be, which makes them easy pickings for cyber-criminals.

8. The criminals are happy with Apple's response

After the Mac Defender fake antivirus scam was first made public and issues started cropping up across the Mac ecosystem, it took Apple three weeks to finally get around to delivering a solution to the problem. Granted, it might have taken it that long to understand the issue and find a fix, but the response time is unacceptable. It shows a general lack of care on Apple's part. And for cyber-criminals, a general lack of care is a good thing. Apple must do a much better job of improving its response time to address future issues.

9. The criminals welcome Apple's cavalier attitude

One can say what they'd like about Apple's security policies over the years and the perception that security problems on the Mac never reached the heights of the problems on Windows computers. But it's hard to argue with the fact that Apple has been quite cavalier about security. Even the company's Mac OS X page says the operating system "doesn't get" viruses. Moreover, the company says that Mac OS X security requires "virtually no effort" from the user. These statements are troublesome, to say the least. And they have helped contribute to the generally unsafe nature of the Mac ecosystem.

10. Nothing is ever immune from security flaws

Regardless of whether or not Apple is doing a better job at protecting users than Microsoft, the reality is, there is no such thing as "immunity" in today's security world. Even the most militant security expert who uses all the latest tools to keep safe might fall victim to an exploit. So, it's important to realize that Mac OS X never was and never will be totally immune to threats. No one is safe. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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