Mossberg: Virus-wary? Buy a Mac

Wall Street Journal "Personal Tech" columnist (and frequent Apple booster) Walt Mossberg tells his virus-wary readers in a new column to buy a Mac if they're serious about combatting the problem.

"Windows is riddled with security flaws, and new ones turn up regularly," writes Mossberg. "... But for consumers and small businesses, there's a simple way out of this endless morass: Buy an Apple Macintosh computer."

Mossberg cautions that it's not "impossible to write a virus for the Mac," and suggests that Mac users should also use antivirus software as a precaution. "But any virus or security problem that does emerge on the Mac is likely to be much less serious than the Windows security crisis," he said.

Mossberg concedes that Microsoft is taking security issues more serious -- at least in public forums -- than it used to. And he suggests to his Windows readers that they upgrade to a service pack due out next Spring that will purportedly fix some of the problems users now have.

"Or, if the security issues are important to you, you could just buy a Mac when you shop for your next computer," he added.

Mossberg explained that Mac OS X's Unix underpinnings are inherently more virus-proof than Windows. What's more, Apple has taken the precaution of shipping Mac OS X by default with closed "conduits that listen for commands over networks." Mossberg also notes that the phenomenon some have termed "security through obscurity" -- to wit, Apple's small global marketshare, relative to Windows -- as another factor that works in the Mac's favor when it comes to hackers gaining intimate knowledge of how the system works in order to bring it down.

"Not everybody can, or should, jump to Apple. But if you're tired of the virus wars, the Mac can be an island of serenity," he concluded.

This story, "Mossberg: Virus-wary? Buy a Mac" was originally published by PCWorld.

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