Setting the OS X virus record straight

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by inkswamp, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. inkswamp macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003
    Right off the bat, I'll admit this post is partly self-promoting, but I'm mainly posting it here because I'm a long time MacRumors reader and I know it's something of interest to others here. I write a tech column for a local newspaper and magazine and I also blog on their site. I decided recently to gather all the tidbits that shoot holes in the argument that OS X isn't any more secure than Windows and that the only reason there are no viruses is because of the small market share. I've always thought that argument was bunk and I thought a blog post iterating all the points would be good.

    It's here, if you're interested: Setting the virus record straight.

    You can post comments there, btw, without signing up. If you want to counter some of the Windows users this seems to have drawn out of the woodwork, by all means, don't hold back. :D
  2. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    so, In your opinion, will OSX have "less virus" or "no virus" in next 5 years?

    does market share, being not "the only" cause, have any influence?

    PS. how many active virus does windows vista have?
  3. inkswamp thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003
    To answer your 3 questions:

    1. I'm not completely sure I understand your question, but I'm willing to bet we'll see a real, honest-to-god OS X virus in the next 5 years. It's going to happen eventually. No system is perfect and in the blog post I made, I state that at the end. OS X is pretty darn secure, but it's not perfect.

    2. Yes, the thing I wrote was intended only to shoot logical holes in the market share argument, not to completely disprove it. Of course, market share *does* influence the amount of viruses and malware you're going to see for a platform, but my point is that it's not the only cause and those running around claiming that OS X is just as vulnerable as Windows using that argument alone are flat-out wrong.

    3. No idea. :D
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Actually, there is no market share argument. There is only an assertion. To really deal with the market share assertion, you should explore its origins. Early this decade, Microsoft was getting a lot of heat because its OS was nearly breaking under the withering attack of viruses. Gates asserted that Windows had a large number of viruses because it had such a large market share. Gates offered no evidence, either anecdotal or based on refereed laboratory research, to support his claim. He simply said it and the popular press and the easily persuaded accepted Gates' excuse uncritically.

    IIRC, version of Windows that was under such heavy attack was XP. At the time, XP had a smaller market share than Windows 98. What does that say about the market share assertion!
  5. inkswamp thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jan 26, 2003
    Thanks for that information. This was something I didn't know. I assumed this had started in the anti-Mac echo chamber (had that kind of sound to it.) I'll look into that and possibly post a follow-up to the site.

    As far as the version of Windows in question, I suppose one could argue that XP was new and 98 had been around and therefore had been patched and made safer but that still doesn't explain why it defies this market share rationale.

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