April 14, 2012, 7:10 AM — Given the vast numbers of Macs that are apparently infected with the Flashback Trojan malware, it's not at all surprising to see that sales of Mac security software are now skyrocketing.
But if I were a Mac user, I'd be nervous too. After all, Macs have long been billed by many as the secure alternative for those wary of the near-constant malware attacks on Windows.
Then, last year, we had MacDefender. Now there's Flashback. It's starting to look like Apple's "walled garden" isn't as safe as many thought it was.
Stocking up on security software is one approach to the problem, but a better one, I'd suggest, would be to consider switching to Linux instead.
'Security Through Obscurity'?
Macs, of course, are used by a relatively small portion of the desktop computing world, compared with Windows systems--roughly 7%, according to Net Applications--and that's surely accounted for a significant bit of the platform's security reputation over time.
Malware creators tend to try to affect as many users as they can with each attack, so Windows has historically been much more worthwhile in that respect.
That, however, appears to be changing, and Apple's extremely closed development model doesn't seem to be helping.
Both Microsoft and Apple rely at least in part on "security through obscurity," and it's increasingly clear that just isn't working. The leisurely pace at which Apple responds to these security problems, meanwhile, only makes the problem worse.
The Benefits of 'Fragmentation'