Just over a year ago, Mac users began to feel a bit more Windows-like after a major Mac trojan horse was discovered in the wild.
Of course, you'd get it only if you obtained copies of pirated software. While there had been a few scattered OS X virus reports, this trojan had the most destructive potential to date.
Since that rumble last year, the Mac security front has been relatively quiet. This begs the question that has been on many peopleís minds and one I get asked on a daily basis:
Why don't Macs get viruses??!!
Of course, we know the question isn't valid. Macs can be attacked as evidenced earlier. Even Apple suggests running some kind of antivirus software on your Mac and included one with a .Mac subscription. Additionally, numerous security flaws are found and Apple releases regular security updates to patch them up. So, a better question might be.
Why don't Mac users have to worry about malware like Windows users do? I suspect a relatively small number of readers have active antivirus software running on their Mac, despite Apple ís recommendation. For purposes of simplicity, weíll lump viruses, worms, spyware, malware, and trojans under the common term of ìviruses.î Here are the common responses given and my take on them.
Macs Are not Popular
Why do people rob banks? That ís where the money is!. Because Windows-based computers represent around 90 percent of the market, virus writers get more bang for their buck. Not only does a Windows virus spread farther and faster due to its numbers, but the people writing viruses are more likely to have Windows machines upon which to code. And the banks are running Windows as well, so Windows is where the money is.
Of course, when Apple introduced Intel-based computers, some were concerned that Macs would get PC viruses because they were running the same chips. The chip switch was a legitimate concern, but for a different reason. If cheap PCs could be turned into Macs, the enemy could use that to their advantage and begin diversifying. Hacking the Mac OS to run on a PC would provide an easy way for malware writers to explore the MacOS.
However, as the Mac ís popularity has increased, we havenít seen a rise in viruses for the Mac. Popularity is a weak rationale.