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BBC Story - Switch to Macs For Better Online Security

Damien Barrett

Most of our readers know that Mac OS X is a much more secure environment than any flavor of Windows. Microsoft apologists like to say that the lack of viruses and malware targeted towards Mac OS X is because its much smaller marketshare. I believe there's a kernel of truth in this argument, but it's also an oversimplification. It's true that Windows is a larger target, but it's also true that Windows is just not very secure. Study after study after study shows that plugging a Windows computer into a broadband connection without any protection is a surefire way for that computer to become infected with a virus or worm. Yes, there are ways to harden your Windows computer so that it doesn't become a spam-sending zombie and these anti-virus and anti-spyware tools are getting better all the time, but it's still a lot to ask a new computer user to do just to get online.

So it's nice to see the BBC and Sophos (a leading maker of anti-virus and security software) recognize Mac OS X for its better security. I'll be the first person to tell you that Mac OS X isn't totally secure; in fact there is no such thing as a completely secure operating system. But there can be no question that Mac OS X and its underlying Unix permissions model is more secure than any flavor of Windows.

I can hear the comments already. "But, but...just you wait for Vista. It will solve all the security problems." Well, if you remember, that's what people were saying about WinXP. And Win2K before that. And even Win98 before that. Yes, Vista will probably be a more secure environment than its predecessors, but that's not saying much.
[Thank you to everyone who sent us this tip.]

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