Mac or PC Security, it doesn’t matter: be prepared

In a comment I received to a recent blog posting on being careful when it comes to viruses, I wanted to mention something when it comes to computer security: whether you have a PC or a Mac, you will have to be concerned about security and protect yourself.

If you own a computer – PC or Mac (and we have both at home) – you should run AV software, have a firewall on your internet connection and practice “safe computing.”

But we have to be careful to reach broad-based conclusions. It’s better to anticipate an attack and be prepared and protected rather than hope that you won’t be the victim of an attack. As I said in a past post, see our Security at home site for more ideas on how to protect your computer. It has info on avoiding online scams with the Microsoft Phishing Filter, anti-virus, anti-spyware, security updates, Office and Windows update tools… well worth your time. Mac users can look here on Apple’s site for more info on protecting your Mac.

As USA Today reported earlier this year…

“Windows-based PCs have felt the brunt of attacks for years because those machines command more than 95% of the worldwide market. Macs mostly have escaped the attention of hackers. Until now.

“Unless they consider themselves very savvy, Mac users should run anti-virus software just like Windows users,” says Larry Seltzer, security center editor at news site “Mac users need to start developing a sense of cynicism about content that comes unsolicited, even if it appears to come from a user they know.”

Of interest is eWeek’s Larry Seltzer’s article on “What Will Apple Do When the Malware Comes?”

As our COO Kevin Turner says, (paraphrased): don’t be a victim… be a participant in your own rescue.

3 replies on “Mac or PC Security, it doesn’t matter: be prepared”

Your arguments are ludicrous on their face and display either an agenda or wishful thinking. Its all about risk assessment. To state "Mac or PC ?Security, it doesn’t matter" flies in the face of all logic since you are comparing one platform with tens of thousands of viruses and exploits in the wild against another with no known viruses in the wild. To run a PC with no protection would be suicide, to run a Mac that way, not so much. Might this change someday? Of course. But lets stick to reality as it exists rather than how you wish it might be to make your chosen platform look like a reasonable choice.

And quoting USA Today — Is that where you go for reliable tech news?

Once again trotting out the old chestnut that "If Macintosh had a larger market share they’d have just as many problems." A hypothetical that nobody can prove, and that ignores the structural differences in the OS that make all Unix based systems inherently harder to crack.

Your quote security analysts whose business is to sell security software and expect us not to notice the self interest dripping off their pronouncements.

Could I put someones Antivirus framework on the Mac with nothing to put in the definitions folder just so it will be there in case a successful virus is ever authored. Sure. You could also mandate that every new home be built with a $20,000 fallout shelter attached just in case we ever need it. This is "being prepared" and might come in very handy some day, but meanwhile you add trillions of dollars to the cost of houses.

To be fair, yes everybody, no matter their platform, is equally vulnerable to phishing attacks, but as for the rest, the typical user, not knowledgeable geek, is several orders of magnitude safer running an OS Ten Macintosh, with or without AV software and firewalls–and that’s a fact.  

Thanks for your comment and your opinions.

A quick trip to lists the latest in exploits, malware and other things that can plague a Mac. In comparing one platform vs another, the comment I made is clear: no one is immune, and everyone should protect themselves, Mac or PC. I have both at home and I wouldn’t think of hooking either computer up to the network without adequate protection.

To run a mainstream computer without protection is asking for trouble. That’s my main point.

Reality is that the bigger the target, the more appealing it is to malware and virus creators.

As for quoting USA Today: it just goes to show how mainstream the problem is. There are a number of articles out in the wild, and I was quoting an editor at eWeek. I don’t think that he’s selling security software, but I may be wrong.

When it comes to protecting a computer, let’s look for example at MIT, which promotes and prescribes AV software for both Mac and PC platforms. (More info on Virex 7.2.1 for Macintosh.) 

Comparing an antivirus framework on the Mac to an expensive construction (although I’m not sure that $20K would even pour a foundation for one with the price of concrete and labour these days — btw, that’s a joke). Consumers can download a number of inexpensive and free applications and services… this from Download.Com on best free security and spyware software for your Windows PC: “From blocking intrusions and removing spyware to detecting viruses and encrypting your data, these 10 programs comprise the best free security software on”

BTW, I just picked that site at random, as I like

And here’s a current review of Mac AV software on MacWorld’s site.

Being prepared in this example costs me nothing. But I have a choice to purchase additional security if I choose. And that’s what I have done for both my Mac (with Norton AV, but I am considering switching to Intego) and my PC (OneCare with Etrust).

Comments are closed.