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Is Mac OS X Free of Security Threats?

Contrary to popular believe, Mac and PC are both vulnerable to malicious software attacks. Many Mac users have the illusion that Mac OS X is impervious to malware attacks, which is not true. This is a great misconception and a risky one at that. Mac is susceptible to computer security threats just the same way Microsoft operating systems are. We talk about Microsoft operating systems and malware attacks a whole lot because Windows controls a large junk of the market. Therefore, it makes business sense for black hat coders to focus on Windows.

Very little malicious codes are designed for Mac OS X. This is not to say some rogues are not busy writing malicious codes for Mac OS X, but they are a drop in the ocean. If you have a good computer security in place, you would hardly notice a threat since fewer criminals are targeting Mac OS X. However, the key point is that you need to have security software in place. Don't assume you are safe just because you are using Mac OS X.

Mac Security Tools

Mac OS X is about the safest operating system around. That is because criminals target it less and because it is not as popular as Windows. Why waste your time designing a black hat code for Mac OS X, which has just about 8% market share when you can achieve more results by attacking Windows? Because of these reasons, Mac OS X is relatively safer. It also has some security features that help keep it safe such as a firewall, default security, and download validation.

Microsoft Computer Security Tools

Windows users are the main target for hackers and malicious coders. If you are like most users and you use a Windows based OS, then some of the features of Windows below may be worth checking out.

  • SmartScreen filter helps to restrict access to a dangerous Web site.
  • The Safer ActiveX controls feature helps to regulate the way ActiveX controls are used.
  • The Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Filter takes care of all requests and responses running in a browser.
  • The search engine, Bing, searches billions of web pages for threats to display warnings to users about dangerous sites.
  • Hotmail scans all emails before sending them.
  • In addition, Microsoft is trying to curtail malware attacks with Microsoft security essentials, Microsoft Forefront Client Security, the Malicious Software Removal Tool, Windows Defender, Windows Live Protection for Exchange, and Microsoft Safety Scanner, which work with existing antivirus software on your computer to help remove virus and spyware.
  • Windows 7 uses AppLocker, User Account Control (UAC), Data Execution Prevention (DEP), and Structured Exception Handling Overwrite Protection (SEHOP) to protect users against malicious software.
To round everything up in a few sentences, if Mac OS X is impervious to security attacks, Apple wouldn't bother adding security features. Also, reputable security vendors would not waste their precious time creating antivirus and spyware removal tools for Mac OS X. So, to be safe, make sure you install antivirus and antispyware software on your computer no matter if it is a Mac or a PC.

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