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With the gap between the number of Windows and MAC PC’s narrowing , see Gap Between PC and Mac Sales Narrowing , I am being being asked the question which is better a MAC or a Windows PC.

Years ago I would have said a Windows PC mainly because Macs were completely proprietary either with Motorola or IBM processors and which made them more complicated to work on. Now MAC machines run a unix variant with Intel hardware which allows the running of Windows natively on the latest MAC PC’s and has made them much more usable , eg it’s much easier to port popular software to that system. I also believe the confusion with the latest Windows 8 interface has helped apple’s cause , however I will save that discussion to a later blog.
A common belief is that MAC computers are safer which is actually true as there are less computer viruses currently written for the MAC however what is not known is that MACS are actually less secure then Windows PC’s.

Why MAC’s are less Secure than PC’s
The following technologies have been implemented by Windows in the last 8 years to stop the consistent attacks on their OS.

  • Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
  • Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)
  • Structured Exception Handler Overwrite Protection (SEHOP)
  • Export Address Table Filtering (EAF)
  • Heap Spray Allocation (HSA)
  • Null Page Allocation (NPA)
  • Bottom-Up Rand (BUR)
  • Kernel Patch Protection

These technologies make it much harder for hackers to insert their code into the Windows operating system however MAC’s only implement a small slice of these technologies and have only just fully implemented ASLR and DEP.
In fact Eugene Kaspersky of Kaspersky Labs estimates that Apple is 10 years behind Windows when it comes to security see Apple Security
and he also predicts that there will be a growth in viruses written for the MAC. Recently we saw Apple disable Java technology owned by Oracle , which comes built-in to MAC systems. The disabling of the Java software was done via one of Apple’s regular updates of their OS but not announced to end users. Java has many exploitable vulnerabilities and is considered a problem amongst security experts but is also widely used software , eg Google Chrome is written in Java. This rather radical decision caused numerous problems for users and in fact I received calls about this from disgruntled users and it is my belief that if the MAC O.S. was more secure Apple would not have needed to implement such a measure.

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