Apple used to make a big deal out of the security features that Mac OS X had. On its “Why you’ll love a Mac” page, it would even say things like, “It doesn’t get PC viruses” and “Safeguard your data. By doing nothing.”
But in recent months, OS X has had problems with security. The infamous Flashback trojan that plagued over 600,000 Macs caused Apple to take drastic measures to enhance security of its Mac computers – measures that the company would never have dreamed of taking when OS X was actually as secure as Apple said. The company had to issue a few patches to stop the trojan from infecting any more computers, and Norton (the popular security company) even issued a scanning tool for Mac users to scan their computer and remove the infection if it was on their Macs.
And now, Apple has changed its focus on Mac security just a bit. Gone are the mentions of a virus-less computing experience, replaced with simple references to UNIX security and Apple’s own built-in defenses.
This comes as a surprise to me. Back in 2008, security was one of the most heavily marketed features of OS X. A lot of Apple’s famous Mac vs. PC commercials poked fun at Windows’ ability to be infected by viruses and how Macs weren’t susceptible to such a thing. I guess now that Apple is arguably one of the most popular companies in the world, it doesn’t need to focus on security to sell its products as much as it did. But it still gives off a bad vibe about Apple.
It sucks that Apple was so unprepared for the Flashback attack, but I shouldn’t be surprised that there was a failure to respond quickly enough for the threat to go away: after all, this was one of the first major security attacks that OS X had. Still, the failure is disconcerting. Is Apple going to fail to respond like this to future threats? If I go through with a retina MacBook Pro purchase, am I going to have to worry about infections from viruses and trojans without any promise of a fix?
To me, those are legitimate questions. So for the sake of the millions of Mac users around the world, I hope that Apple will give some answers soon, whether that be a simple press release or a security suite from the Mac-maker itself.
Regardless of Apple’s answers, I feel that this move is just a necessary step for Apple to take so it can be held less accountable for future attacks. Apple used to claim that the Mac would defend against viruses without any input from you, and that the Mac would keep the bad stuff out of your computing experience. If Apple kept those claims for a while longer and another attack happened, it would be held accountable for everything that happened. But now, the Mac is just “built to be safe” – viruses can still get to the computer, though, and Apple is basically telling its customers just that with its updated “Why you’ll love a Mac” page.
How do you feel about Mac security? How about security across all platforms?[Naked Security via MacRumors]