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  1. #1

    cramar's Avatar
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    Mac has 5x vulnerability flaws as Windows???
    A friend who is a XP/Vista user threw this at me—and is gloating!

    Mac versus Windows vulnerability stats for 2007:

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=758&tag=nl.e622

    I don't understand what is going on. How can OS X have all these issues compared to Windows? I know something is serious wrong with this article, since things are not this way in the real world. But I need solid facts to shut down my friend.

  2. #2

    Zoolook's Avatar
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    Isn't this like the Firefox vs IE security 'flaws' as well.

    Windows packages up all it's security flaws into single fixes (which is why some stay out there for literally months) and also don't publish or even admit to some of the flaws, whereas Apple identify the flaws and fix them as they arise.

    You can see this by the fixes, as and when they're released. So a single Windows patch might fix 30 problems.

    Now if you add up all the time from the point a vulnerability becomes known to when fixed, and how often it is exploited in the real world during that time, you'd get a very different picture.

    Do you know anyone, anyone at all, who's had their Mac hacked or compromised due to a known flaw? Me neither...
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  3. #3


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    It depends on how you count them.

    For what it's worth, Secunia lists 26 advisories for Mac OS X in 2007, and 30 for WinXP. Vista had 17.

    Last year, Mac OS X had 24, and Windows XP had 46 new advisories.

    http://www.secunia.com/

  4. #4

    Alexis's Avatar
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    What are the total number of flaws though?

    XP has been around since 2001 - there could have been 10,000 flaws in 2001, 5000 in 2002, 2500 in 2003 etc.

    If OS X has 234 'highly critical' flaws then how come not a single one of the 15 million worldwide OS X users has a single problem with their OS with regards to spyware, trojans, worms, keyloggers or D.O.S. problems?

  5. #5


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    Keep in mind that many of these vulnerabilities are ones that were found in the labs or by security researchers and are being fixed even before a true exploit has been developed or found to be "in the wild".

  6. #6

    Kash's Avatar
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    You also have to realize that these vulnerability stats are highly skewed as the author includes vulnerabilities in third-party apps for the Mac but not for Windows. So if Adobe has a flaw in its Acrobat program, you'll find it listed for the Mac but not Windows. You can obviously see how this would inflate the Mac vulnerability list, and also where the author's biases lay.

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post
    Isn't this like the Firefox vs IE security 'flaws' as well.

    Windows packages up all it's security flaws into single fixes (which is why some stay out there for literally months) and also don't publish or even admit to some of the flaws, whereas Apple identify the flaws and fix them as they arise.

    You can see this by the fixes, as and when they're released. So a single Windows patch might fix 30 problems.

    Now if you add up all the time from the point a vulnerability becomes known to when fixed, and how often it is exploited in the real world during that time, you'd get a very different picture.

    Do you know anyone, anyone at all, who's had their Mac hacked or compromised due to a known flaw? Me neither...
    Exactly. The article is nonsense - it appears all he's proved is that OSX has more patches than Windows, which is an irrelevant comparison. A very simplified and frankly pretty stupid way of looking at it.
    [URL="http://beadia.net"]Beadia[/URL - Jewelry Business Management Software]
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  8. #8

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Yep, that's a bogus list. All you have to do is look at the very first vulnerability listed under the Apple side.

    It is a Flash vulnerability. Not an OS vulnerability. It is also a vulnerability under almost every OS including XP, as you'll note there is even a link there to MS's technet. But he does not have it listed under the MS side of his list at all. Not only that, but he lists it in December, but when you go to the OS X link, you'll find it is from May of 2006.

    The 2nd item is a Linux based packet catcher and dumper application. And well, since it is unix based, it could be compiled on a Mac. Highly unlikely more than a very few, if any, have this little app on an install of OS X though.

    Selected multiple links on the Apple side in the month of December. Everyone of them I clicked on besides the first one applied to particular distibutions of Linux. Not a single mention of OS X anywhere. However, they could be compiled and installed in OS X, so he feels this is OK? He's full of xxxx.

    What's up with all that. One look - first item is a bug on both sides, but only listed on one? - all I need to see - thank you very much.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
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  9. #9

    Avid6eek's Avatar
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    OSX isn't as safe as you like to believe. Yes...at the present time it has as many flaws as Windows does. This is true...even though your fanboy goggles may try to blur the facts in front of you. These flaws don't become a problem until they are exploited. The good news for OSX is that those who exploit the flaws, are looking to harm as many people as possible. That is why Windows will get exploited far more that OSX. If OSX has the same market share as Windows, they would both have the same number of exploits. The small market share is what keeps OSX safe, for now.
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  10. #10

    cramar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avid6eek View Post
    OSX isn't as safe as you like to believe. Yes...at the present time it has as many flaws as Windows does. This is true...even though your fanboy goggles may try to blur the facts in front of you. These flaws don't become a problem until they are exploited. The good news for OSX is that those who exploit the flaws, are looking to harm as many people as possible. That is why Windows will get exploited far more that OSX. If OSX has the same market share as Windows, they would both have the same number of exploits. The small market share is what keeps OSX safe, for now.
    There may be a deal of truth in the argument that Macs have not been exploited since their numbers are far less than PCs, hence more damage can be done on the Windows side. However, you don't think there are Mac-hating genius hackers out there who are driven by ego? Another successful attack on PCs is nothing special, but being the first to successfully attack Macs on a large scale will guarantee fame and immortality. You don't think this is the ultimate lure? "Captain Crunch" of the 21st Century! The fact that this hasn't happened means that it can't be done (yet, I will qualify).

  11. #11

    Kash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avid6eek View Post
    OSX isn't as safe as you like to believe. Yes...at the present time it has as many flaws as Windows does. This is true...even though your fanboy goggles may try to blur the facts in front of you. These flaws don't become a problem until they are exploited. The good news for OSX is that those who exploit the flaws, are looking to harm as many people as possible. That is why Windows will get exploited far more that OSX. If OSX has the same market share as Windows, they would both have the same number of exploits. The small market share is what keeps OSX safe, for now.
    This idea really needs to die. It's total garbage and has been torn apart many, many times. Like the poster above me, a widespread OS X would be huge for the egomaniacal hacker. Being the first one to institute a massive OS X attack would be a huge notch on one's belt. It would be foolish to think there aren't people out there working feverishly to gain such notoriety.

    On, and Macs are a lot more prevalent in the market than you think. Apple laptops comprise of almost half of the number of consumer laptops sold per year. Overall, Macs have at least a 20% share of the consumer market. Apple has sold millions of machines in the past two years and it's looking to sell millions more in 2008. No, I'm not a fanboy, just a realist.

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  12. #12


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    Originally Posted by Avid6eek
    OSX isn't as safe as you like to believe. Yes...at the present time it has as many flaws as Windows does. This is true...even though your fanboy goggles may try to blur the facts in front of you. These flaws don't become a problem until they are exploited. The good news for OSX is that those who exploit the flaws, are looking to harm as many people as possible. That is why Windows will get exploited far more that OSX. If OSX has the same market share as Windows, they would both have the same number of exploits. The small market share is what keeps OSX safe, for now.


    Nonsense. The underpinnings of the OS alone, FreeBSD, is far more secure than Windows anyday. The old argument that hackers just go after Windows may be a bit accurate, but that has nothing to do with how secure OS X is. Security firms are pounding away at most OS's in hopes of finding flaws. As long as humans write code, flaws will be found. In most cases, these flaws are fixed before an exploit is out to the general public. Hackers no doubt know how to get into most systems, but it behooves them to keep most of their secrets to themselves for the most part.

    Stay safe- stay away from Windows, run chkrootkit every now and then and be sensible in how you use your computer. A little common sense goes a long ways.

  13. #13

    smartyMAC's Avatar
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    Windows Vista + XP has only 44 vulnerabilities!!!!! What a joke. If that's the case what does those "frequent" security updates from MS contain?? Are those vulnerabilities also counted? MS is so known to manipulate the survey results. If they say windows has only 44 vulnerabilities, why they are still easily breakable by the hackers.... It's rare to see a windows machine unbreakable out of box. Any OS has bugs and that's why we get the security updates from the vendor. But the inherent architecture of MAC (UNIX) is much much less prone to large scale damage than any windows system. Out-of-box permissions on MAC ensure that the damage is mostly local to the user home area and doesn't get any further.

  14. #14

    rman's Avatar
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    Cool
    it just shows you the writer of the article has no knowledge of unix.
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  15. #15

    cramar's Avatar
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    Fascinating article in Forbes about U.S. Army turning to Macs more for security reasons:

    http://www.forbes.com/home/technolog..._1221army.html

    With international terrorists and anti-Mac hackers now forcusing on Macs, we'll know for sure in the the next couple of years whether the season of innocence is over!

    Apple still has a major ace up their sleeve. That >$15B cash can be used to keep their software and reputation secure.

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