Apple released another major Mac OS X security update Nov. 9. The update, Mac OS X 10.6.2, installs several fixes for "Snow Leopard," including for a problem that logs users out unexpectedly. But it was the security side of the update that may cause the most alarm. According to Apple, more than 40 potential security vulnerabilities were patched in the update.
There are two ways to view the update. On one hand, users can say Apple is doing its best to fix the security issues that arise before malware makers worm their way into Apple computers. On other hand, the news that Apple was forced to patch over 40 security holes might underscore a real problem with the company's security initiatives. It could mean that Mac OS X isn't as secure as Apple wants users to believe. Worst of all, the situation could get worse.
1. Mac OS X isn't ironclad
Although some users might want to believe that Apple's Mac OS X security is above and beyond anything offered elsewhere, it's not necessarily true. Just because hackers haven't yet exploited Mac OS X and caused a major issue, that doesn't mean that the operating system is impenetrable. It just hasn't been tested enough by attackers.
2. It hasn't been tested
Which brings us to that very point. So far, Mac OS X hasn't been threatened nearly as much as Windows. For the most, hackers are realizing that there is more money to be made in Windows than in Mac OS X. It's a simple numbers game. The more people using the operating system, the greater the chances that those users can be exploited. It has worked in the past. And there's little chance that it won't continue to work.
3. More Mac OS X users
At the same time, it's important to note that more users than ever are using Mac OS X. Apple is enjoying unparalleled success. With each new update to its hardware, more users are switching to the operating system. Eventually, hackers will take notice. They will see that Mac OS X is a viable target. And many of those users could be affected without warning.
4. There's a feeling of safety
Mac OS X might not suffer from all the security problems that Microsoft Windows does, but that doesn't mean that it's inherently more secure. And yet, the vast majority of Mac OS X users seem to believe that it is. They don't use security software. They rarely worry about security updates. They simply keep working in Mac OS X without worrying about the consequences. That's the kind of mentality that malicious hackers love to prey on.