I just got done reading a pretty interesting article that aims to bust the myth of Macs only being secure because of their lower market share. The article focuses on Mac OS X being built off of BSD Unix, which inherently makes the OS more secure. Here is a quote from the article:
The key is the foundation of the OS. If the OS is designed on a shaky foundation, everything on top will suffer. When Apple moved its customer based from Classic Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X, they did so consciously with the idea that they needed a firm foundation for the future. But that meant leaving every Classic app behind in the long term.
Microsoft has never been able to make that commitment and retained the backwards compatibility with Win32 apps. That has put a strain on their whole Windows OS.
I do think that Microsoft really needs to revolutionize the way Windows is built, and as the author mentioned, this will probably require that they scrap what they currently have and start from scratch. I realize that Microsoft wants to keep applications and hardware backwards compatible, but they will probably need to break something in order to make bigger advancements.
I originally saw this article on Digg and I began reading through the comments posted there. Here are a few of the comments that really stood out to me:
The unsinkable Titanic sank overnight. The thousand year Reich lasted a dozen.
OSX isn’t, however, immune to user stupidity. If you write a program that deletes important files and ask a stupid user to run it, it’ll do the same damage on OSX as it would on Windows. It’s the stuff that bypasses users completely that OSX is better protected against, compared to Windows.
I couldn’t give two hoots why there’s fewer virii for Mac. Tiny market share? More secure? Steve Jobs is a god? Doesn’t matter to me. All I care is that there ARE fewer. The reasons for it being so mean nothing. If my Mac is attacked less because it’s part of a small market, that’s great.
The first thing that popped into my mind was whether market share really does play a role in this. I still believe it does because if I was a hacker looking to get some user’s personal information, I would design my attack to work on Windows. After all, I would be more confident that my attack would work on someone if I knew I was hitting 90% of the market that Windows holds, as opposed to the 5% that Mac has (those are the latest market share numbers that I remember hearing).
I’ll admit that I haven’t done much with Macs before so maybe my theory is a little bit off, but I just thought that Mac security may have at least a tiny bit to do with their smaller market share. What does everyone else think…if the market shares were reversed and Mac had 90% would Apple be dealing more security woes?