Apple has been claiming for years to be a safer, more secure platform than Windows… but is that claim actually true? Bugs have been found in Apple’s OS X operating system that allows malicious programs to take complete control of anyone’s MAC computer. There have also been reports of a vulnerability in MAC firmware that allows infections to pass to the computer through various accessories.
Keep in mind that computer security is about more than just the operating system and the biggest threats to your computer run on both platforms. Most hackers aren’t targeting the operating system anymore, they are going after software – plugins like Flash and JAVA and web browsers. Other third-party programs are less likely targets for hackers, but they still may have security flaws. For example, a big bug with Adobe Flash allows an infection from a website to take complete control of any computer, Windows or MAC. The issue with Flash is so severe that most security experts are suggesting to uninstall Flash and never use it again.
Web Browsers: One of the nastier attack methods is called “drive-by download.” The drive-by-download infects your computer simply by getting you to visit the site. The website itself is running malicious code in the background and simply going there can infect your computer. Unfortunately, it gets worse from there. You can also get infected by visiting a perfectly legitimate website that is unknowingly running booby-trapped animated ads that sometimes slip into the automated networks that place ads on various web pages.
Plugins: Most plugin related attacks are on older versions of the plugins. These plugins are vulnerable because they don’t update automatically and they do not prompt users to install new versions.
Who is more vulnerable? Since MAC computers only make up about 10% of the total computer market today the focus has been (and continues to be) on Windows by the plain and simple fact that there are more to hack and infect. With the rising popularity of MACs hackers are starting to focus more on them… so current (and future) MAC users should start to be a lot more diligent with their security.
When it comes to security flaws in the operating system, Windows and MACs are now about tied… they both have a ton of major security bugs. All computers can be hacked. Most attacks now work equally well on both operating systems. So staying safe isn’t so much a matter of what computer you use, but rather how well you understand and avoid the security pitfalls on it. Ultimately, the safest operating system is the one run by an informed user who knows how to keep it up to date, knows what to install, and knows what to remove.
So… How Do You Make Your Computer Safer? You can do a lot to make your system much safer, but unfortunately nothing is 100%. These tips below are for both MAC and PC users.
1.) Update! Update! Update! Is your computer nagging you to update something? DO IT! Also, enable auto-updates for the software that offers that feature. Keeping your system and software up to date is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
2.) Remove third-party plugins.
3.) Make sure all APPS you use or download from the APP Store are genuine. Don’t download APPS from a generic download site.
4.) Use security software (and keep it up to date).
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