Snow Leopard security debate is much ado about nothing

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

San Francisco (CA) - The Snow Leopard security debate can best be described as a raging tempest in a teacup. Indeed, the majority of mainstream platforms - including Microsoft Windows - are inherently insecure.

Rob Housman, the executive director of the Cyber Secure Institute, told TG Daily that there was "much ado" being made about Snow Leopard's anti-malware application.

"Most mainstream platforms and systems are inherently insecure today. To criticize Apple for having done something about the problem is ridiculous," said Housman. "Yes, it is true that the malware detector is a bolt-on feature. It is also true that Apple's decision to include an anti-malware application could indicate serious concern over potential security threats. Yet, Apple's platform is still significantly more secure than Microsoft's."

Housman also noted that hackers have historically focused on compromising Microsoft-based systems.

"Firstly, Apple has less than a 10 percent market share. Secondly, Apple is more secure to begin with. Thirdly, Microsoft is perceived as 'Big Brother,' and hackers enjoy targeting such a loathed figure of authority," explained Housman.

Snow Leopard security debate is much ado about nothing

However, Housman noted that the historic pattern had begun to change, due to the meteoric rise in popularity of various Apple products, such as the iPhone.

"Apple may do a better job than Microsoft with its platforms, but they are certainly not impenetrable. Clearly, though, Microsoft is one of the more insecure operating systems, even though we are all dependent on it to some degree."

Finally, Housman recommended that the industry begin deploying inherently secure systems - such as those certified by  NIAP and the NSA.

"The future of the IT industry is undoubtedly security. Companies will have to focus on designing secure platforms and systems from the ground up. Bolt-ons and hack-and-patch solutions are not the answer. As such, Apple must make certain that it isn't 'outsecured' and outflanked by others," added Housman.