If you are a Windows user, youive likely spent some time this past week fretting over the latest digital epidemic, the Sasser Worm. Mac users, meanwhile, have had to pay more attention than usual of late, too; recently there have been several alerts issued by people who watch these things, and just this week there was a report of a Mac-favoring Trojan/malware posing as (not-so) innocent code- in the wild.
All of this may leave many wondering if Macs are indeed any more secure against digital infection than Windows. Larry Seltzer of eWeek wondered the same thing, and penned an editorial that looks at potential vulnerabilities of Mac, Linux, and Windows. He offers the opinion that Macs can have malicious code (viruses, trojans, and other malware) written against it, but spreading that code would be harder because of Appleis market share. From the article:
Will we ever see something like the Sasser worm for the Macintosh or Linux? Itis an interesting question, and not just for academic reasons. Undoubtedly, many people who choose these platforms do so because they think it immunizes them from the sorts of attacks Windows users must deal with.
The lack of targets is probably the reason why nobody writes mail worms for these platforms. Youid need to seed the worm carefully not only with Mac users -- or Linux users, or whomever youire attacking -- but with people who had an affected version and who hadnit patched. I can still see it working, but as long as 90-something percent of users are running Windows, it will be harder for a non-Windows attack to gain critical mass.
The article talks more about some of the security alerts that have been issue this week concerning vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, and takes a look at how a worm or virus might fair if written against Macs. Check out the full article at eWeek for more information.