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Mac Hack Makes for Good Headlines, But…

Published March 28th, 2008
Gone in 2 minutes: Mac gets hacked first in contest The fact remains that neither I nor any other Mac user has ever had our machine infected with a virus, a worm, or any of the numerous forms of malware that Windows users have suffered from since 2001, when Mac OS X was released. The single biggest risks users have faced online during this period are (a) running Windows XP, (b) running Internet Explorer, and (c) running Microsoft email software. Why? Microsoft has called it various things over the years, but I know it best as Active/X. Microsoft argued in the aborted antitrust trial that tying IE tightly to the OS was in the best interests of consumers. Right. It certainly has been good for IT security firms. Heck, this gave rise to an entire industry that would never have existed without Microsoft's highly vulnerable system, and it made consumers and businesses spend billions of dollars on antivirus/antimalware software to combat the problem. Plus it created a generation of people who are afraid to use the web to the fullest, and who are neurotically suspicious of hyperlinks in emails... even when they come from people they know and trust.

Even if you believe these things would have happened if Apple's OS held the monopoly (which is a demonstrably false opinion), the burden of computer security has fallen exclusively on Windows users over the last 7 years. Exclusively... not just 90-95% of the burden. I have never spent a dime on security software or subscriptions, nor have I spent a moment worrying about going online. I've never had my machine hijacked by malware, or had my browser go haywire because I visited the "wrong" website. I take sensible precautions about suspicious emails, and I don't download files from suspicious websites.

If someone has developed a true exploit for hacking Mac OS X, I'm sure it'll be quickly squashed by Apple. And one or two such exploits in 7 years is a far more intelligent risk than dealing with thousands of such exploits a year over that period, don't you think?

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