Are Mac Users Worried About Security? Our Survey-Takers Are…But Only a Little.

By  |  Monday, December 8, 2008 at 10:59 am

Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they use encryption software on their Macs. Seventy-two percent don’t.


Other security software, such as anti-phishing and privacy utilities, aren’t widely used by respondents either. Only seventeen percent said they’re running any at all.

As for the important question of whether the OS X platform is safer from a sheer technical standpoint than Windows, 46 percent of respondents think it’s far safer and forty percent think it’s somewhat safer, for a combined and commanding 86 percent who think it’s safer. Only 12 percent think it’s no safer. (In retrospect, we should have let respondents say that they believe OS X is less safe than Windows–at least a few respondents take that stance.)

Scuttlebutt about Mac security problems has certainly increased recently, but most survey respondents haven’t been too rattled. Sixty-nine percent said they’re neither more nor less worried about Mac security issues than in the past. Only 21 percent are more worried these days. (I would have guessed a higher percentage.)

On the other hand, there’s plenty of pessimism about the future: 63 percent said they’re somewhat worried that hackers and other bad guys will attack Macs more frequently based on the platform’s growing popularity, and eleven percent said they’re somewhat worried. That’s almost three-quarters of users who are concerned overall. Twenty-four percent remain blithely carefree.

We ended by giving survey respondents the opportunity to share any other thoughts they had about the state of Mac security. Some of their responses follow on the last page. Once you’ve read them, I’d love for the conversation to continue in the comments…



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5 Comments For This Post

  1. avro Says:

    There has been a lot of comment on this in the past week and most of it seems to fall into the Mac Market-Share MalWare Myth. The oft repeated Microsoft PR contention that Macs don’t suffer from MalWare because of the small percentage of computer users who have Macs. This has never been proven and as Macs become more popular we are not seeing more exploits. Macs are probably safer because of elevated permissions and architecture. The bad guys are trained in attacking Windows and many of these come from the old Eastern block. Mac architecture is unknown to them and unless Apple sets up a Mac U in Moscow it is likely to remain that way.

    Let’s stop all this FUD.

  2. mss Says:

    I agree that the Mac Market Share Myth is FUD. Our Macs used to get viruses BEFORE OS X. We’d run Nortan (Symantec) Anti-Virus and occasionally snag something. This was in the mid to late 1990’s when Mac market share was much lower than it is now. Nowadays, on OS X, I’ll occasionally run an anti-virus program. Nothing’s ever shown up.

  3. DAG Says:

    According to the Old Testament, when did Noah build the ark?
    Before the rains came and before the flood.

    One day there will be a significant and serious OS X exploit and those not ready will be bitten hard. The smug FanBois will not garner one iota of sympathy because of their arrogance and ignorance.

    Besides, Macs make good vectors for malware- the Typhoid Marys of the computer world.

  4. Partners in Grime Says:

    Considering there are no Mac OS X viruses in the wild, and what AV software does is check virus signatures, then there’s not much sense running Mac AV software at this time.

  5. avro Says:

    @ DAG

    The problem is the AV companies are always behind the curve. A new piece of MalWare comes out and they have no protection and by the time they do, it has been modified.

    Not so much building an Ark as building a Maginot Line, absolutely useless. The Bad guys just go round it and bite you on the backside.

    Your Typhoid Mary comment: Is it Mac Users’ fault if you decide to use an insecure OS? You have a choice. You could get a Mac.

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