Columnist: 'Jobs & Co. Should Consider Hiring a Security Czar'

In his latest Byte of the Apple column, BusinessWeekis Arik Hesseldahl covered the fallout from the Wisconsin and Sweden hacking challenges, concluding: "To maintain public confidence in its operating system, Jobs & Co. should consider hiring a security czar."

The latest round of attention focused on Mac OS Xis security "illustrates changing perceptions about [it]," Mr. Hesseldahl wrote. "The Mac is increasingly on the radar screen of people who have long ignored it and who, for whatever reason, want to find the chinks in as-yet virtually impregnable armor ... Hackers love nothing more than a difficult challenge -- which Windows ceased to be a long time ago."

In response to this, he added, "uninformed media sources will do what they do best -- sow fear, uncertainty and doubt." Noting that IBM and Oracle have chief security officers, Mr. Hesseldahl said that Apple should hire "a well-known computer security expert, ideally from outside Apple, who would wave the flag for all things related to Mac security, debunking myths, correcting the record, and providing a public face when issues crop up."

He spoke with Bud Tribble, Appleis vice-president of software technology, who acknowledged that the idea is a "good suggestion" but said that the company takes a different approach. "For pretty much all the senior people at Apple, security is one of the top jobs on their list," he told Mr. Hesseldahl. "When we think about security and how we design software, the basic approach is to make it as secure as possible, because most people really arenit security experts. We try to make sure things are pretty well locked down out of the box."

Mr. Tribble added, "Unix is sort of a kid that grew up in a tough neighborhood," prompting the columnist to write: "That neighborhood was a networked environment where people were constantly trying to figure out tricks to log into the system. So over the decades, lots of holes have been plugged. You canit say that about Windows."