Are Macs more secure than PCs?

June 15th, 2011 by steve

A lot of people think I am anti-Apple. I am not. I love the iOS. And Macs are great machines if that’s how you want to spend your money.

I am not anti-Apple. I am anti-hype. Sometimes I resonate too soundly with Dr. Carrasco of Man of La Mancha. I am anti-stupidity. I thought of this today when a tech friend of mine told me he had just removed a virus from a Mac. This friend, like all Mac guys, always teases PC users about viruses on PCs.

The reality is that in over 25 years of computing, I have only had a couple viruses. And I’ve had none since Windows 98. I know they are out there because through the years I have removed them from District Office PCs, from Life Impact Ministries PCs and the PCs of many individuals. But safe-computing practices protect against viruses.

When he was at our church, an international worker told me that he was getting a Mac because he had to deal with so many viruses in Southeast Asia. I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. Viruses don’t float through the air. They come over the net. And I am only seconds, digitally speaking, from the same servers that he is using. What would make him so much more susceptible to viruses than me?” The answer is: unsafe computing practices. Ironically, he was not back in the field for a month before an email came back regarding his computing needs as his Apple was down and he could find no one qualified to repair it.

This year at Carnegie Mellon, my son took a high-level data security course. He said words like these to me, “Dad — the Mac is the least secure platform of those widely used. It’s amazing that it hasn’t been hit with viruses. The only explanation is that it’s just not popular enough for virus writers to target.” But as Apple’s market share increases, that popularity safeguard decreases.

If you get a Mac, do it because you like the feel of the OS. Play with one for a weekend. See how well it syncs with your data.

But don’t get it because of the hype.

And whether you get a Mac or a PC, get commercial anti-virus software and keep it current.

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