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Doug's Mailbag: More OS Security Comments

Here's part two of the discussion on which has a better safety record -- Windows or Mac OS:

Let's say I'm the whiz-bang marketer for a rejuvenated Yugo America. So I start pitching my marketing angle as 'Yugos are the safest cars in America! Only 25 people died in Yugos in the last three years!' Of course, being a marketing person, I'd never mention that only 29 Yugos are still on the road!

Windows was designed and 'built' by humans, as was the Mac OS. Ergo, both are just as vulnerable to exploits. Period. Yes, there may be a difference in exploits based on differences in architecture, but vulnerable nonetheless. It's just a question of focus. If Macs overtake PCs in raw numbers, I guarantee that Macs will be hacked as frequently as Windows, if not more so.

Windows has become, in our culture, the embodiment of the un-cool geek who has to work triple hard as the football player or the star lead on the high school drama team to 'succeed.' Hence, there's a good chance that per feature capita, Windows is possibly even less vulnerable than Macs (and Linux computers).

Of course that's heresy, so I don't expect that I'll ever 'win' that argument in any self-described 'good company.' But I've lived long enough to know that humans are infinitely fallible, and no perfect human creations hase been, or likely ever will be, created. Windows, for all its flaws (and there are many, no surprise there), undeniably 'powers' the world right now. With all the forces of chaos seeking to bring down modern humanity, it's hard for me to believe that Windows is the fundamental disaster that Mac and Linux devotees would have us believe. But then I'm just probably naïve.
-Chris

A dumb user can make any computer, patched or not, a security hole.
-Bruce

I would have to disagree with the statement that Macs are safer. This just is not true. They have as many or more flaws than Windows.The issue is that there are not enough Mac users to justify being hacked, so there are less attempts to hack the MAC.

I have been using Windows computers since Version 3.0 and have not been hacked/infected to date. I guess it's all in how the systems are configured, maintained and used.
-Earl

After several years of using several Macs, and decades of using and developing software for PCs, my experience is that Macs always work, while PCs often do not work. At home I have one PC (multi core, Win 7 64 bit, lots of RAM), 3 Macs, an iPad and an iPhone. I spend far more time maintaining the PC than I do all the other Apple equipment combined. And the Macs get 10 times the use of the PC.

I trust Macs more. Schmidt's statement may have been a gaffe, politically, but that does not mean he was wrong.
-Ed

I use a Mac for work and it's not really any more or less reliable than Windows.  The main problem with Windows is with third-party apps (some of which are from Apple). But Mac has the same issues.  Just this past week alone I've had to hold the power button on my Mac to turn it off because it locked up (I forgot my phone charger and left the Macbook Pro on overnight with my phone plugged in via USB) at least four times.

I've always had pretty good success with my Windows systems, notable exceptions include hardware-related issues. But taking those out of the mix, I don't have the same problems that some people profess to have.
-Anonymous

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted on 06/13/2011 at 1:18 PM


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