Mac Users: Please Take a Quick Survey About Security

By  |  Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 7:32 pm

macvirus2There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle this week about a subject that crops up every so often and is always good for some spirited debate: Whether Mac users should be as proactive about protecting themselves against security attacks as their Windows-using friends. The Washington Post’s Brian Krebs noticed Apple recommending the use of anti-virus software and tried to reconcile that advice with the gist of some of the company’s TV commericials. It turned out that the Apple technical note Krebs found wasn’t exactly news: MacDailyNews found two examples of the company recommending the use of anti-virus in years past.

I like to nitpick at Apple ads as much or more than the next guy, but in this case I think the company is on safe ground. No, Macs aren’t invulnerable to threats. Yes, Mac users should think at least a bit about security issues. But it’s undeniable that most of the threats in the world are aimed squarely at Windows users, and that Mac users don’t have to stress over them unless they’re running Windows via Boot Camp or Parallels or VMware Fusion virtualization.

You can probably rip apart this metaphor if you want, but to me, it’s a little like arguing over whether people who live in the country need to obsess over securing their homes as those who live smack dab in the middle of the city. On one hand, country folk may well be able to get away without multiple deadbolts, bars on their windows, and elaborate alarm systems. On the other, even they would be foolish to leave their front doors unlocked and open twenty-four hours a day, with a sign pinned up detailing the location and value of everything inside.

Anyhow, to me one of the interesting aspects of all this is the question of just how Mac users are feeling about security these days. Are they blithely oblivious, thinking that Mac users don’t need to stress over this stuff? Or terrified out of their minds? Or in a mental state that’s somewhere in between those two extremes?

I’d like to get at least an anecdotal sense of where their heads are at right now. So I’ve created a quick survey. If you’re a Mac user, I’d be indebted if you take it–it shouldn’t take very long. Once I have enough completed surveys, I’ll report back here with an article in the spirit of our story on the State of iPhone Satisfaction.

[UPDATE: We've reached our quota and closed the survey. Thanks!]

 
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2 Comments For This Post

  1. thehumanyawn Says:

    Of course I’m worried about security. However, I’m not likely to do anything in the near future to beef up security. If I go out and buy a copy of Norton that has three licenses, why should I have to buy a separate copy for the Mac? The licensing issues are what’s keeping me from putting protection on my Mac. If I pay for three licenses, then I should get three licenses, regardless of what OS I’m running. Also, why aren’t more companies that make Windows security software working harder to develop Mac versions? There will be a lot of money to be made in this market. I wish software makers would get a clue.

  2. Aktariel Says:

    But Macs don’t simply benefit from security through obscurity. They have many built in security features that Windows lacks – requiring administrator authentication for the modification of system files, a watcher that adds metadata to downloaded applications to remind you upon first run where and when you downloaded it from with the option to cancel, sandboxing, and many more.

    Not only does it have less of a market share, but it’s more inherently secure.

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  1. Are Mac Users Worried About Security? Our Survey Respondents Are, a Little. But Only a Little. | Technologizer Says:

    [...] wrangling with security problems than in the past, or at least worrying about them. I decided to conduct a quick survey to get real feedback from real Mac users. The results (via the wonderful PollDaddy) are in, and for the most part they confirm what you [...]