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.
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.