The Month: Debate - Is the security threat faced by users of the Mac operating system overhyped?

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YES - Garry Sidaway senior security consultant, Cybertrust

The business community has little choice when it comes to running business applications - it's either Unix or Microsoft.

In the beginning, Microsoft became the hackers' main target due to the ease with which tools can be created and shared, and its initial lack of security features with regards to Windows.

However, things are changing, and people are now becoming aware of security flaws being exploited on the Mac operating system. The difference here, though, is that the business community using the Mac OS is still relatively small and limited to graphics and media industries, which are of limited value to hackers who want recognition through notoriety. It remains the case that fame from global scale attacks is achieved by targeting the business community, which predominantly leans on Microsoft.

The spread of iPods and multimedia may change this, but for now, Mac security issues will have little impact on the business world, although, of course, Mac Users should always be aware of security issues.

NO - Laurent Marteau, CEO, Intego

While the press focuses mainly on the virus threat, this is just one of the myriad dangers of the internet. Hackers and vandals, spyware and adware, trojans and other types of malware affect Mac users as well as Windows users.

Home users need to protect themselves from these threats, and parents want to protect their children from inappropriate content on the internet.

They also need to ensure that they don't lose their "digital lives" - those pictures and videos that are irreplaceable - should their computers crash or get stolen. For this reason, backing up files regularly is another essential security task.

Businesses have many of the same concerns: protection from hackers who want to steal data, the need to back up essential files and ensuring that their Macs are safe from all types of malware.

All computer users need to protect their machines, regardless of the platform they use. Macs and Windows PCs have similar security risks, and it is important to weigh up which risks are the most dangerous on the platform you use, and then apply adequate protection.

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition
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