An AP story is making the rounds that Macs are newly–maybe–vulnerable to viruses and Apple–maybe–isn’t getting it, just like Microsoft didn’t get it until…um…recently…or…not.
Sigh. No, Macs are not invulnerable to all types of trojans, viruses, worms, or other malware. It should be noted, though, that despite the criticisms of Apple, all the vulnerabilities mentioned in the article have been addressed.
I have been readily getting Security Updates on a very timely schedule from Apple in five or six years I’ve been using OS X, starting with Developer Preview 3 and on through 10.4.6. I do some sensible things, like not clicking on things sent by people I don’t know or downloading programs from dodgy sites I’ve never heard of before and running them. I used to even run antivirus software, but since it never once found a single bit of malware, I quit.
The fact is, and to its credit the article points it out, the Mac is still far less vulnerable to malware than Windows, even accounting for its limited market share. Can you get by clicking on anything and everything and opening up every service on your machine and never updating it? Nope. But can you run it without much of a firewall and not act like an idiot and reasonably expect to stay free of malware? Yep. I’ve only seen one Mac running OS X with malware on it, and it is unclear how it got there.
So the lesson you should take away from this is not that Macs are no better than Windows at avoiding bad things on the Internet, but that you won’t be freed from the very basics of avoiding bad things–running programs from people you don’t know or downloading from sketchy sites. But the situation is so much better that if you are determined to be an idiot, your experience will be better on a Mac than on Windows. And if you’re not an idiot and you’re sick of messing with firewalls and virus updates, well, your experience will be better on the Mac than Windows, too.