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Mac Security

March 18, 2008

Apple does a pretty good job keeping itself in the news, so normally I don't feel they need my help. But a couple of recent news items seem significant. The first is the news that Apple is making pretty significant inroads in US personal computer market share. They're at 14%, up from 9% this time last year. That's a huge jump in one year.

The second bit of news is the cornucopia of security fixes Apple released yesterday: 90 or so vulnerabilities were patched, split roughly in half between Mac OS X and the Safari browser.

Now, I don't think these two items are necessarily linked at the moment, but I suspect that if Apple continues to see this kind of growth, these two sorts of news stories will indeed be linked in the future. Apple has been practicing its own brand of security-through-obscurity for years—its market share has remained low enough that it has never made much sense to target malicious code at Macs.

Before you yell at me, yes, I know the BSD underpinnings of Mac OS X have some inherent security advantages as well. But I doubt that's the main reason for the relative lack of Mac attacks in the wild.

Of course, a 14% market share isn't a much bigger security target than a 9% market share, so I'm not worried yet. But as a Mac user, I almost wish Apple would stay off the radar screen, security-wise. I'm quite sure my network of machines at home is not anywhere near as secure as it could be (so please, enterprising hackers out there, don't feel compelled to prove it to me), but I certainly haven't had the kinds of problems that my PC-using friends have had. Trust me: this isn't arrogance. I know my day is coming, especially if Apple gets any more successful.

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