The illusion of security is over
I originally bought my first Mac many moons ago because I was sick of the viruses and worms that were infecting Windows applications at the time (and still are, from what I can gather). But now it seems that Apple apps are no safer because hackers have infected the developers themselves. Is there any way left for us to tell if an app is safe? Or do we need to give up and move to Linux? Arthur Tando
I presume that you are referring to the XcodeGhost security breach, which involved a modified version of the XCode compiler that developers use to create apps for OS X and iOS. The tampered-with version was uploaded to a Chinese file sharing site, and some otherwise respectable developers downloaded their copy of XCode from there, because it had faster download speeds than Apple’s own site.
This exploit only affected iOS and mostly affected Chinese apps (WeChat is probably the highest profile affected app outside China). So the OS X apps on your Mac were never infected by this particular threat. Theoretically, they could have been, of course, and there will be other security flaws in the future that will affect OS X, that much is certain.
However, good computer security isn’t about hiding behind an impenetrable wall. It’s about educating yourself to the possible threats, so you know how seriously to take them and what precautions are reasonable. The App Store is still by far the safest place to get your software and I don’t expect that to change soon.
Don’t let scare stories put you off – Apple’s app stores are still the safest place to buy software.