Mac security: An Apple that can't be bitten?
The relative absence of malware targeting Macintosh systems has meant that the platform has come to enjoy a reputation for being significantly safer than Windows-based PCs. However, malware is only a subset of the threat landscape facing users online, and it is therefore important that the perceived safety of the Mac environment is not generalised too far. This article examines the situation, beginning with consideration of how security is used in the marketing of the platform, and whether this may engender misconceptions on the part of users. It also considers the apparent lack of priority towards ensuring that those wanting to run security software on their Macs can actually do so (a problem illustrated by the release of Mac OS X 10.6, which caused incompatibility with a number of leading antivirus packages, and in some cases took several weeks to resolve). The discussion then moves to consider the extent to which Mac users really require such protection, highlighting that while the malware risk to Mac OS X itself might be low, the Mac can still have a role in combating the wider malware problem, and users still need to be protected against various other online threats such as phishing. Thus, while users can often consider themselves safer on a Mac, security still needs to be a firm issue on their agenda.Furnell SM