PC Mag Writers Smoking the Microsoft/Symantec Pipe

Paul F. Roberts at PC Magazine needs to check his water supply for hexavalent chromium.  He claims that "The recent move by Apple Computer to begin shipping Macintosh computers that use microprocessors from Intel could open the door to more attacks against computers running the company's OS X operating system."  [http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1915923,00.asp, eWeek, January 26, 2006]  What?  Just because Microsoft can't write secure code in its own OS for Intel doesn't mean that Apple is going to inherit its problems.  The security issues are with the operating system and not with the processor.

This is like saying that FreeBSD or OpenBSD are insecure because they run on Intel platforms.  Just because Microsoft sucks at plugging security holes does not mean that the entire world shares in its laissez faire attitude toward security.

Microsoft has the only operating system I have seen that installs the default user with root access out of the box.  Since most exploits surreptitiously use the context of the logged-in user, this means the exploit has root access in a Microsoft environment.  Anything or anyone using root access is telling the system they are God for all intents and purposes. 

Any decent OS (Linux, BSD, Unix, MacOSX) creates the default user in the User context requiring a password to access root system resources that could harm the system.  This is the primary reason you do not see viruses and spyware on these machines.  Purchasing antivirus or antispyware software for them is even rendered superfluous.

Simple rules to follow:

  1. Never give out your password to anyone for any reason.
  2. Never use your local administrator account password for any other system.
  3. Rename your administrator to something else if possible.
  4. Never log in as root unless you are willing to rebuild your system.
  5. Never believe anything Paul F. Roberts writes.

Oliver Friedrichs, a senior manager at Symantec Corp. Security Response, told eWeek, "Attackers have been focused on the [Intel] x86 for over a decade. Macintosh will have a lot more exposure than when it was on PowerPC."  Of course, Symantec has a stake in making such claims.  Their product line for Apple computers is a failing venture based on fearmongering.  If you have money you want to throw away, buy Norton Antivirus for Mac.  But you will never need it.  It is like buying Microsoft Software Assurance for licenses to products that never materialize, or stocking up on supplies of dehydrated water in case that Y2K bug ever decides to strike.