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Mac OS X safe after all May 3, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Opinions.

Well Stan Beer deserves an award.  two of his articles have made it on Slashdot in one day.  Congratulations Stan.  This time his claim is that while yes a Mac can get a virus, that its not as big a deal as on the Windows platform.  Oh and Mac and Linux users do not need Firewall or Anti-Virus.

Link to story

My Take; I agree that Mac OS X and Linux are more secure out of the box than Windows.  I also agree that those systems are much less of a target for those systems…for right now.

Telling users they do not need anti-virus or firewall enabled is irresponsible, thats like telling teenagers its okay to go out there and have unprotected sex.  Its misinformation and this shows the incompetence and irresponsibility of the suggesting IT professional, in this case Stan Beer, to even suggest that users dont need anti-virus and or a firewall.

While the security model of Mac OS X and Linux would not prohibit a complete destruction of a system, a user level virus can be created to cause a hell of a headache, resulting in a loss of data and the harvesting of personal information and can be spread rather quickly.  To think important data only exists to the root user is flawed thinking.  Most of the time the secretary of a CEO or a CIO has more sensitive data on her hard drive than the executives do and she uses a user account.   If a virus author can also find a flaw that will allow the execution of a virus to exploit a vulnerability to give him root access such as the recent X11 flaw, its payday.

I suggest all users to please use an anti-virus and a firewall.  Even with systems that may seem like they are a low security risk are vulnerable to attack.  If any IT professional ever tells you you dont need those protections.  That is an IT professional I would never hire. nor would I be interested in anything he has to say.



1. voidlogic - May 4, 2006

Hey, I read your post on OSnews. I have to say I totally agree with you, telling users they don’t need protection seems to me to be a marketing stunt. I gathered some exploit statistics at my blog you may find interesting http://blog.myspace.com/undriedsea

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