By: Billy BeerSlugger
Something I’ve argued for a while with my friends who use an Apple Macintosh (Mac) computer and a real problem I’ve had with the “Mac vs. PC” commercials which have come out is the notion that Mac’s “don’t get viruses”. Though I believe the Mac vs PC commercials point out Windows propensity for being “more vulnerable to viruses” it is a pretty subjective statement and not the whole truth.
The estimates for the number of Malware (Viruses, Spyware etc.) threats geared toward a Windows environment is around 1.8 million while compared to only a couple hundred aimed at the Mac. So by looking at those numbers, Windows has a lot more to worry about and a lot more to stay on top of than Mac in terms of threats. The disparity in the number of threats from Mac to PC is directly correlated to the dominant market share PC’s hold over Mac’s. It’s only logical to think that a person who makes viruses/malware is releasing them for the most part to make money stealing information or just in it for the ego boost of disrupting millions of computers (sick I know but it happens). So either way, the maker of the virus is naturally going to target it to the largest audience possible, this being the PC market.
Given this I do agree that PC’s are “more vulnerable to viruses” given the abundance of threats when compared to the Mac , however, that doesn’t necessarily make a Macintosh safer than a PC. In a Wired Magazine Post I read a month or two ago it describes the various ways that a Mac is actually less secure than it’s PC counterpart. It also goes on to say that “Their good track record is more a matter of luck in small market share”, which has been my argument for some time.
Something else I’d like to bring up that goes along with the substantially larger market share the PC has is the amount of Computer Illiterate users who take a perfectly good system out of the box and can turn it into something almost unusable inside of 3 months. Letting their Anti-Virus subscription run out, downloading fake Computer Cleaners that claim your PC is infected only to then be infected by the downloaded software. Adding 5 or 6 Poker games which are notorious for containing complete crap or downloading porn of a Hollywood Starlet which they must accept to install infected software to see and then ultimately be disappointed to find the starlet never even got naked in front of a camera. I can’t tell you how many of these inept people’s computers I’ve fixed for these reasons and while it does keep me in extra money if they were just a little smarter and cared a bit more they wouldn’t have 90% of their computer problems. It’s amazing how many people don’t renew their Anti-virus subscription for $30 a year and instead opt to have their computer fixed for $40 an hour. Same goes for Mac users too! Apple recommends the use of Anti-virus as well and I’ve seen Mac systems (a client’s work computer in particular) pretty much crippled and non-responsive.
If I were Apple, I wouldn’t be letting my marketing department brag about how the competition is susceptible to viruses when they’re not exactly secure themselves. They may find that a brilliant (but obviously socially challenged) programmer could stay home on both weekend nights and devise a virus which could wreak havoc on Mac systems for just the notoriety of it between him and his nerd friends.
This wasn’t intended to be a Mac vs PC discussion at all. I am just trying to point out the flaws and half truths that are being spun by Marketing Firms and thus taken as gospel and regurgitated by the some parts of the computing community. However, you read this so please know that the real geeks, the hardcore computer enthusiasts and power users shun both Mac and Windows. They opt for the Linux OS whether Red Hat, Ubuntu or another iteration.