Apr 17, 2012

Does the common attitude that "Macs don't get viruses" make them vulnerable to malware?

I've spend a lot of time over the past week dealing with Flashback problems. Ugh. I like Macs generally, but I don't get emotionally attached to machines, unlike a few (but by no means all) of the Mac owners I've dealt with. I've heard "Macs don't get viruses" more than once the past couple of days, so I've repeatedly pointed out that their Mac still doesn't have a virus, since that isn't what Flashback is, but I'm not sure what kind of cold comfort they find in that. It seems like that attitude leads to a disregard to basic security practices in a lot of cases. At the same time, someone who is generally reasonably careful sometimes makes a decision that places their machine/network at risk. How much of a role does lax attitude towards Mac security play in the attacks we have seen recently?


I think the short answer is yes, judging from the amount of Macs I see that owners don't bother to update.  As was pointed out, the recent events were malware instead of viruses, but so the heck what.  Whether a a vulnerability exists on your Mac because of the OS, Java, MS Office or whatever else you can think of, that doesn't make it less of a problem.  So you get SabPub and Flashback.  Virus, Trojan, whatever, pick your poison.  Hopefully, this "outbreak" will result in more Mac users actually updating their software.

It's always a good idea to keep all of your software up to date, regardless of which operating system you are using. Macs are no different in that sense.

We're always going to have users who don't do that, alas. There's not really much that can be done about that except to perhaps force an operating system to automatically update itself regularly. But you'll still have laggards that will find a way to avoid it.

Hopefully Apple will take steps to insure that such a malware problem doesn't happen again any time soon. But no OS is perfect, they all have issues of one kind or another. So it's more of a constant vigilance type thing.
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