The hard truth about Mac se­cu­rity

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

In MF285 you ad­vised Martin Tuck he doesn’t need se­cu­rity soft­ware. For some­one writ­ing for an in­ter­na­tional mag­a­zine to be naïve and blink­ered enough to be­lieve se­cu­rity soft­ware isn’t needed is ut­terly de­plorable.

Macs are just as prone to at­tacks from viruses, mal­ware and se­cu­rity holes as PCs. Have you forgotten the re­cently ex­ploited NTP, OpenSSL, We­bKit, RSA (FREAK) and nu­mer­ous oth­ers? How about the in­creas­ingly large num­ber of ma­li­cious viruses and mal­ware be­ing de­vel­oped and de­ployed for OS X? Se­cu­rity is NOT stick­ing one’s head in the sand! Stu­art Clark

It’s def­i­nitely good to be vig­i­lant about se­cu­rity for our Macs. How­ever, third­party se­cu­rity soft­ware wouldn’t have pro­tected OS X from any of those vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties you men­tion. All of them were se­cu­rity flaws dis­cov­ered by re­searchers and patched soon af­ter­wards by Ap­ple.

Kasper­sky or Nor­ton An­tivirus can’t pro­vide any ex­tra se­cu­rity there. And I’m not aware of any OS X viruses that are ac­tu­ally present out there ‘in the wild’ – just some proof-of-con­cept viruses de­vel­oped by re­searchers.

Since Snow Leop­ard, OS X has had its own built-in mal­ware scan­ner that al­ready checks file down­loads against a data­base of known tro­jans and mal­ware. I have yet to be per­suaded that any third-party se­cu­rity soft­ware adds any real ben­e­fit for a Mac user. I’m open minded though, and if the sit­u­a­tion changes, I’ll cer­tainly dis­cuss it here.

OS X wasn’t af­fected by the Heart­bleed bug be­cause Ap­ple had al­ready re­placed the vul­ner­a­ble OpenSSL li­brary.

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