Mac OS: More critical flaws than Windows in 2007

Mac OS X had 234 highly critical vulnerabilities reported in 2007 but Vista and XP combined had 23, according to US research

Apple Mac operating systems had more critical vulnerabilities reported in 2007 than Microsoft's operating systems, according to research.

George Ou, a writer for's sister site, analysed in-depth statistics from security research company Secunia as a basis for his research. He found that Apple's latest operating system, Mac OS X, faced more critical flaws than Windows XP and Vista combined.

While Mac OS X had 234 highly critical vulnerabilities reported in 2007, Vista and XP combined had 23, Ou wrote.

"This shows that Apple had more than five times the number of flaws per month than Windows XP and Vista in 2007, and most of these flaws are serious," wrote Ou. "Clearly this goes against conventional wisdom."

Macs have traditionally been viewed as suffering from fewer vulnerabilities than Windows.

Ou made the comparison as an indicator of how many vulnerabilities might exist in 2008, rather than a comparison of the relative security of the operating systems. He said that security had improved with both Windows Vista and Mac OS X Leopard (version 10.5) this year.

Some experts have said that counting vulnerabilities is not necessarily reliable as a measure of security.

Tristan Nitot, president of Mozilla Europe, told this month that it was more important to take into account the time it takes to patch vulnerabilities.

The amount of exploit code available in the wild also has an impact on security. While there are thousands of pieces of code that seek to exploit Windows XP vulnerabilities, exploit code for Mac OS X is relatively rare.


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