As you all have heard by now, ad nauseum, that there has been a rash of malware reports from Mac rumors. The source of this outbreak is called “MacDefender” and other variants. Users could run across this on the web, and are prompted with a notice claiming their system is infected and that they will […]
" />

My Thoughts On ‘MacDefender’ and What It Means for the Mac Platform Moving Forward

overview-gallery3-20090828.pngAs you all have heard by now, ad nauseum, that there has been a rash of malware reports from Mac rumors. The source of this outbreak is called “MacDefender” and other variants. Users could run across this on the web, and are prompted with a notice claiming their system is infected and that they will need to install “MacDefencer” to remove it. Havoc ensues.

Well, if you listen to certain pundits, this means certain doom for the Mac, and it’s long history of security (minor bumps here and there aside). I’m not a security expert, nor am I a developer, but one thing has always held true- Apple runs a tight platform.

Some claim that as the Mac’s market share will grow, their susceptibility to malware and virus attacks would too. Granted, on the surface, this makes sense. The people who make viruses and the like, are essentially cyber terrorist (pardon the melodrama) in the sense that they want to hit the widest swath of machines as possible. Microsoft’s Windows is on the majority of those machines, thus Windows is a juicy target.

I don’t think this is entirely the case. Not to be one of those bearded “open source” guys, but Apple uses an open source, UNIX base under the name of Darwin. This is battle hardened code with years of experience, and available to anyone who wants to improve upon it.

Microsoft’s products on the other hand are mostly closed-source, proprietary code, so Microsoft is the only company that can find the code-level bugs in their products. Even as large as Microsoft is, they can’t possibly test for everything, under every circumstance. Thus, wholes are found in which virus makers can attack.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a market share component is involved, but that’s where most pundits leave it. They don’t take into account the technical aspects that have kept malware (for the most part) and viruses, off the platform.

Now, in a move that would piss off power users, and the reason these same users own Android devices, Apple could further secure the Mac platform by making the Mac App Store the only way to install software on a Mac. As with iOS devices, this would essentially cut off the possibility of security threats. Apple is the gatekeeper to the platform, and nothing malicious gets through. For the vast majority of users, this would be fine.

I believe, other than the occasional outbreak that we see from time-to-time, the Mac will remain mostly safe going forward. Apple makes sure of this, an granted it’s not always as fast as we’d like, and fixes their security holes. Microsoft (I’m really only picking on them because their the only other PC OS maker) on the other hand, allows time to pass, and leaves the safeguarding to the user with things like antivirus software. Apple, as they do with most things, maintains control, and makes sure everything is locked down. That’s why we got a quick response from Apple, and an upcoming software release to fix the problem.

Never say never, but I can not see, as the Macs market share heads north, that security will become a major problem. Not with the Apple of this era in charge. They wouldn’t let a brand be tarnished with something such as malware, and that’s good for users.

Continue reading:

TAGS: