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Thread: In their words: Experts weigh in on Mac vs. PC security

  1. #1
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    In their words: Experts weigh in on Mac vs. PC security

    February 1, 2010 4:00 AM PST
    In their words: Experts weigh in on Mac vs. PC security
    by Elinor Mills

    When I am asked the question "Which is more secure, Mac or PC?" I find myself stumbling around for a response because I don't have a clear-cut answer. I use both. And I use antivirus software with both.

    So I decided to conduct an informal survey of a bunch of security experts and see what they had to say in the hopes that people can use the information to help them come to their own conclusions.

    Before I provide quotes from the 32 experts who participated in the survey, along with edited comments from an interview with a Microsoft representative and a link that Apple provided, I'd like to share some relevant research from antivirus vendor ESET.

    More than half of Americans believe that PCs are "very" or "extremely" vulnerable to cybercrime attacks, while only 20 percent say the same about Macs, according to this ESET survey.
    (Credit: ESET)

    ESET released the results of a survey in November related to awareness of cybercrime in the U.S. The survey of more than 1,000 people found that while both PC and Mac users perceive the Mac as being safer, Mac users are victims of cybercrime just as frequently as PC users.

    Meanwhile, Mac users are just as vulnerable to Web-based attacks like phishing as PC users are, and Mac users who fall prey to phishing tend to lose more money on average than PC users do, the survey found. "Viruses are a diminishing percentage of what we're seeing," said Randy Adams, director of technical education at ESET. "A lot of attacks have to do with social engineering and that kind of attack is platform agnostic."

    For my survey I asked security experts: Which is more secure for consumers--Mac or PC, and why? Here are their (mostly) unedited responses, in alphabetical order by last name.

    continued here
    Last edited by YouVantOption; 02-03-2010 at 08:41 AM.
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    there are typos in your link. here is the correct link: http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10444561-245.html

    the article pretty much states what has been obvious to anyone with common sense. you don't even need to be a techie to see it: cyber crime is a #'s game, so up to this point there has been nothing to gain for attacking macs.
    Last edited by johnmbot; 02-03-2010 at 04:08 AM.

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    [QUOTE=johnmbot;458593]there are typos in your link. here is the correct link: http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10444561-245.html

    fixed, thanks. there's a typo in yours, too - a trailing ]. must be a Mac thing. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by johnmbot View Post
    the article pretty much states what has been obvious to anyone with common sense. you don't even need to be a techie to see it: cyber crime is a #'s game, so up to this point there has been nothing to gain for attacking macs.
    Yes. If VMS was the predominate OS, you can bet your sweet bippy the cyberscum would be sending their minions to M.I.T. to learn how to fuck with that, instead of Windows. There are some inherent aspects of OSX that made it better that previous iterations of Windows, but 7 certainly has all of the ingredients to put it on a level playing field, aside from the market ubiquity, of course. If there are any Linux dorks feeling a tad too comfortable here, I suggest you trot over to Brian Krebs new blog and check out the recent vulnerabilities he wrote about being OS and browser agnostic. Just remember, the adversary works 24/7/365 to crack stuff open, and the Internet is a very dangerous place for personal information.

    Protegez-vous! Update your shit (all programs and operating system, and anti-virus software) religiously, ever day, or hourly if possible. Don't hand out your credit card number wherever possible (our American friends can use AMEX services that issue disposable credit card numbers linked to your main card for a specific amount). Check your CC & bank account daily, and alert them if you see weird things. Shred your credit card receipts, and bills with personal information on them. Don't ever click on a link in an email saying it is from your bank or other financial institution - enter it by hand, or better yet, from a bookmark.

    It's all about risk management. Let's be careful out there! </hill street blues>
    Last edited by YouVantOption; 02-03-2010 at 08:57 AM.
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  4. #4
    Interesting. The experts are saying the same thing I've been saying for the past 3 years, that Macs are not inherently more secure than PCs. Not a big surprise to me. It's nice to see the experts mentioning the problems with Safari also.

    But what I really like about the article are the responses from Microsoft and Apple at the end of the article...MS provides a well thought out, useful, honest reply and Apple directs them to the same old marketing garbage. So typical.
    And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Techman View Post
    Interesting. The experts are saying the same thing I've been saying for the past 3 years, that Macs are not inherently more secure than PCs. Not a big surprise to me. It's nice to see the experts mentioning the problems with Safari also.

    But what I really like about the article are the responses from Microsoft and Apple at the end of the article...MS provides a well thought out, useful, honest reply and Apple directs them to the same old marketing garbage. So typical.

    And you are misreading the article which says that the new microsoft system is more secure, not anything that has been available for three years, namely XP. So typical.

    So sad, too that your knee-jerk reaction to all things Apple doesn't extend to the recent ad campaign run by Microsoft, buying product placement on dozens of t.v. shows. That too is typical of a myopic, uni-functional, autistic.
    You are cordially invited to toss my salad. There's an app for that!

  6. #6
    So let me get this right...it's perfectly fine for Apple to buy product placement like they've been doing for MANY years, but when MS, or Dell or any other PC company does it there's something wrong with it. Where is it stated that only Apple has the right to promote their product in movies and television?

    By the way...Vista has been available for... more than THREE YEARS! I have never suggested that XP is or ever was secure. In fact I have always stated that everyone who is still running XP is part of the problem and should upgrade to Vista or to Win 7.

    You are just another blindered Apple fanatic who will always believe that Apple only sells perfect products and that Steve Jobs is god. Typical.

    As far as I'm concerned, people should buy and use whatever computer that fits their needs and budget. Who cares if it runs Windows, Mac OS or Linux? As long as you are happy with it. Nothing else matters.
    And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

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    I think I know what is going on here. Donning my public health hat, I see profound buyer's remorse, and a deep desire to avoid public embarrassment for having backed the wrong horse for so long. I think TM is proceeding through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. We may have reached the preliminary stages of acceptance in the following phrase, misguided as it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Techman View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, people should buy and use whatever computer that fits their needs and budget. Who cares if it runs Windows, Mac OS or Linux? As long as you are happy with it. Nothing else matters.

    Exploited, compromised Windows machines (XP & VISTA) becoming zombied members of vast botnets that are the single-most serious threat to the Internet infrastructure, and indeed national safety today. But, 'as long as you are happy' is beyond insane.

    I suggest that anyone else reading this deeply question TMI (Techman Information) and do your own research. There is clearly a bias to what he posts that is dangerous to you and the safety of your personal information. I can only guess as to his motivations, and frankly, I don't care what they are.
    You are cordially invited to toss my salad. There's an app for that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Techman View Post
    So let me get this right...it's perfectly fine for Apple to buy product placement like they've been doing for MANY years, but when MS, or Dell or any other PC company does it there's something wrong with it. Where is it stated that only Apple has the right to promote their product in movies and television?
    Product placement is one thing, Peter Griffin and Bart Simpson shilling for you, is something else entirely. But then, I didn't expect you to be able to appreciate such subtleties.
    You are cordially invited to toss my salad. There's an app for that!

  9. #9
    Well, I look at it this way:

    For school and work use, everything uses Windoze, ime. Maybe if I worked in some "trendy" office or such, Macs would be common place.

    For home use, everything uses Windoze, but has Mac drivers available, but support for Mac is not so enthusiastic.

    So at present, there is no reason to get a Mac for me, unless I wish to have a novelty, and an expensive one at that.

  10. #10
    Hey YVO! You're absolutely right. No one should take anything into consideration when buying a computer other that the fact that if there's no Apple on it, they shouldn't buy it. Only Apple is worth spending your money on. It doesn't matter what you may personally need, want or can afford. ONLY BUY APPLE!!! If you don't, YVO won't respect you. There should be no freedom of choice, just drink the koolaid and pay the Apple tax. Who cares if the Mac doesn't suit your needs or breaks your budget by 200%, or heaven or god(steve jobs) forbid, you actually PREFER WINDOWS to Mac OS. Who cares that Apple has less than 5% of the worldwide computer market and that the only reason it's safe is because no hacker or cyber criminal gives a damn about it? At least for the moment. ONLY BUY APPLE!!

    Now once everyone is on the Mac platform and they end up with the same malware problems or worse because they're so blind and refuse to admit that Macs could ever be vulnerable, I'm sure that YVO will find some other crusade and abandon the Mac platform for Linux.

    In the meantime, I'm sure he'll be happy to make up the difference in price between the Apple you choose and the equivalent PC system.

    And buyer's remorse? I'm running an Intel i7 with 12 GB of DDR3 RAM, Dual HD4850 1GB video cards in crossfire mode, 3TB of storage, and Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. This system cost me far less than the lowest cost Mac system on the market today and what I'm running isn't even available on the Mac platform at any price. I happen to enjoy running on the Windows platform where I have control over my own property and can install what hardware and software I wish, unlike Apple where it has to be approved by Chairman Jobs.

    Anyways, YVO, I have work to do so you can go back to praying to Steve Jobs, or worshipping him or whatever it is that you're doing on your knees in front of him. I'm sure that you're very good at giving lip service for the cause.
    And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

  11. #11
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    Great 4000th post Techman! LOL!!
    Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction) English, motherfu*ker, do you speak it?

    Typical Yankee fan in the Merb Sports Section!! Bwwaahh.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Special K View Post
    Great 4000th post Techman! LOL!!

    Didn't even notice that! at aleast I made it count! LOL

    But I think I know why YVO is so upset...Windows 7 has barely been on the market for 2 months and there are already more Win 7 systems in the world than the entire installed base of Apple systems running any version of Mac OS. That's gotta hurt. And when you think of it, if Windows systems were so bad and so unsecure, when you consider the number of them in the world that are connected to the 'net I'd think the entire thing would have come crashing to a halt by now. I guess we have to thank all the 'security experts' like YVO who with their magic Macs must be keeping the entire Internet running.
    And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

  13. #13
    All I know is I started on Microsoft systems, then I changed to a company that used Macs, didnt like it at first but learned to use the Macs, later I went to another company that used Microsoft systems. Found it was easier and quicker to take my work home and do it on, yes a Mac, then convert it so it could be used on the Windows machines at at work. I find that most peoiple with biases realy dont have any experierence with the other operating system. I also find that people that do mostly prefer the Mac as I did from experience..

    One other observation, the Beta Max, versus VHS video tape formats, VHS won out cause they were cheaper , in all ways, with better marketing not they were the better technology.

    The cheap Windows systems out there are sans many important useful features but they are cheap. To get the features comparable to what is standard on a Mac those cheap systems will end up at the same price point or more than a Mac.

    But if you have never looked or tried it you will not know. Its that what you want then fine.
    Last edited by mass1965; 02-03-2010 at 08:00 PM.

  14. #14
    Can you give me an idea of these useful features? I've not seen any 'important, useful' feature included in OS/X that is missing from a Windows vista or 7 PC. You also have to realize that Microsoft has to worry about anti-trust legislation from any company that feels it's business may be damaged by what MS has included in it's OS. Apple has no such worries and can include anything they wish. If Microsoft so much as included an Anti-virus in Windows, they would be hauled into court so fast by the AV software vendors and the government you wouldn't believe it.

    Now if someone wants to make claims about the 'great features' in OS/X that are so much better than Windows 7, could you at least give some real examples instead of sounding like an Apple commercial? If you think that I have to invest 500-1000 bucks or more in software, the difference in cost between comparable average PC and Mac systems, to get the basic funtcionality of OS/X on a PC, you haven't touched a PC lately.
    And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

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