Should Mac users be more concerned about security?

Should Mac users be more concerned about security?

Summary: Last month we saw the Month of Apple Bugs (MoAB) project uncover 31 bugs relating to OS X and popular programs that Mac users run on the platform. But with a handful discovered and bought out into the open, how many more exist? Has the MoAB project made Mac users a little more concerned about security? If not, why not?


Last month we saw the Month of Apple Bugs (MoAB) project uncover 31 bugs relating to OS X and popular programs that Mac users run on the platform.  But with a handful discovered and bought out into the open, how many more exist?  Has the MoAB project made Mac users a little more concerned about security?  If not, why not?

[poll id=89]

I watched the daily drip-feed of exploits from the MoAB project with great interest, not because the bugs themselves were interesting (although some were), but because it was interesting to watch how the Mac community responded to the disclosure of these bugs, or should I say didn’t respond to the bugs.  No matter what platform under scrutiny, that many bugs being unleashed, along with exploit code, would make me a little worried about what would happen next.  Security just isn’t something that Apple users seem to want to worry about.

But how long will this last for?  As Mac user numbers grow and the surface presented to attackers gets bigger (the more applications there are for the Mac – browser toolbars, utilities, browser plug-ins and such – the bigger the surface being presented to attackers is), I really can’t see Mac users being able to ignore security indefinitely.  In fact, it’s a credit to the Mac OS platform that they’ve got this far without issues.  Given how social engineering tricks on websites can get people who are sitting behind the keyboard to install all kinds of junk onto their systems, I can’t believe that these tricks wouldn’t work on some Mac users too.


Topic: Apple

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  • Depends on the "community" you're talking about

    If you mean general Mac users, then yes, they were probably just as blas? about
    the whole thing as normal users.

    But if you mean the passionate Mac using community and specifically those who
    develop for it and promote it (the alpha "fanboys" I guess) then the response was
    not only swift but very revealing.

    Within a day of the VLC overflow bug appearing, a prominent developer had
    analyzed it, revealed the problem, and released a patch. For free. On his own

    That says volumes about the Mac community.

    Or if you are talking about the specific Apple development team responsible for
    such things: virtually all of the non-trivial potential exploits have been patched as
    of the most recent security update. That's within 30 days of the proof of concept
    flaws being illustrated.

    So, while it would be good if the mom & pop Mac users were more in touch with
    the importance of security on their chosen platform, it is also true that due
    attention is being paid by those who should be paying attention.
  • Better concerned today than infected tomorrow.

    Mac users can learn from Windows users now, since every script-kiddie is now targeting Macs for attacks and hijacks. They need to learn those steps that all Windows users know (or ought to know) by heart to keep their systems safe.

    Mac users also need to remember: Bloated egos make crappy firewalls.
    Mr. Roboto
  • Complacency

    When counting security consequences rather than security threats, it's clear that
    OSX has provided it's users with 6 years of consequence free computing. For the
    bulk of users, being non-technical, what this has essentially meant, is, they
    haven't had to worry about malware spyware, viruses etc.

    Apparently, this makes Mac users naive.

    Before the PC community starts congratulating itself for it's new 6 billion dollar
    UAC prompt, it should consider this record. Regardless how secure Vista now
    proves to be, you can't get the last 6 years back. It will take some time to catch up
    with Apple's record of no-worry computing, and it's fair to say that no one is
    standing still in this game.

    At the end of the day, Apple users want to avoid security problems as much as
    anyone. The declarations of who is arrogant or complacent should be carefully
    considered. The folks who have suffered through billions in lost productivity, are,
    just perhaps, not the people to lecture those who have not. You can log that as
    arrogance if you see fit.
    Harry Bardal
  • These are Mac users we are talking about...

    Arrogance and the Mac go hand in hand.

    How the hell Mac users can be so arrogant about how superior their product is when it has been documented just how dire the hardware is, and the fact that [b][u]one[/u][/b] researcher managed to find enough bugs to fill a month is truly outstanding.

    Mac users shouldn't be concerned about security, they should be concerned about the high price tag of the products they purchased, and whether or not that purchase actually represented good value for money.

    Only then should they get down to petty issues like security etc.
    • You should...

      You should try a Mac in your life before you do such comments. (I guess in a way similar to the author). If you do, you will understand why the Mac share grows and why Mac users believe that "their purchase actually represent[s] good value for [their] money. If you do not, I will not even try to persuade you. Simply said, everything that you wrote makes us(the Mac users) laugh.
    • 31 bugs in a month for Mac

      And how many for Windows in the same time frame (not just the major ones, but the minor ones too, which some of the MoAB bugs were)? I have $20 that double the number of bugs could be found in Vista by one person in a month.
  • What would you have them do?

    Mac users seem to be doing just fine with security, thank you very much. I've seen a completely appropriate level of response to every supposed threat that has been announced.

    The obvious question--if you think Mac users are not concerned enough, what would you suggest that they should be doing? Should they be more vocal, more theatrical? Should they run around declaring that the sky is falling? Seriously, as a Mac user, is there something I'm not doing regarding security that you think I should be doing?
    tic swayback
    • wait wait wait...someone's gotta say it...


      lol j/k...but as a fellow Mac user (it dual boots linux and OS X), my school of thought is there's not enough other Mac users updating their software. Unless you have apps that can't specifically run on 10.2.8, 10.3.9, or 10.4.8, you should be at one of those versions of OS X, and even then, most apps run better on updated versions of the operating system.