While valid, Macintosh’s argument “malware doesn’t exist for the Mac” needs to be taken with a grain of reality. PCs are used throughout the world in every business, agency, and occupation imaginable. By comparison, Macs occupy only a tiny fraction of this marketplace. PCs just make a much bigger and more attractive target than Macintosh.
This may be changing. In a recent story on NPR it was revealed that an increase has been observed by security firm F-Secure in the number of new malware programs for the Mac. This is being attributed to the run-away success of Mac’s products in recent years. The Macbook (now running on traditionally PC components), the iPod, and the iPhone are top-selling technology items, and are contributing to Mac making itself a bigger target.
What this means for the consumer is that you cannot blithely dismiss virus threats anymore just because you have a Mac. Even a minor increase in the number of malicious software attacks on the Mac operating system indicates an increased level of interest in that platform on the part of malicious hackers. The number of attacks, and the number of software threats, will just continue to increase as more and more people turn to Macintosh, or adopt other Apple technologies like the iPod or iPhone. Much like PC users you can reduce the possibility of an infected OS by implementing some common sense computing practices:
- Practice cautious web browsing.
- Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
- Don’t open attachments of any type if you don’t know the sender.
- Don’t install software if you don’t know and trust the vendor.
- Run periodic virus scans (this is still less of a burden for Mac users than those clinging to the PC)