Are Macs safe?
This article gives an overview of the reality of computer security on a Mac.
From the Apple advertisements, the laymen has been led to the assumption that Macs are completely secure computers. Not only is that assumption false but it turns out that Macs take the least time to hack into currently (June 2009).

Each year a contest is held at the computer security conference, CanSecWest. One of the events is called "PWN 2 OWN." Briefly, they setup computers using the Mac OS, Vista, and Linux using the default settings with all current updates and challenge the hackers to reach Administrator or Root level control on the machine.

It took less than ten seconds to hack a fully-patched MacBook running Apple's Safari web browser, which was the first to fall.

To be absolutely clear, if you own a Mac and surf the Internet, it would require a trivial amount of time for a hacker to control your completely updated computer.

One might ask if this is a regular occurence, that perhaps 2009 was the strange year when the Mac was the first to fall to the hackers. Actually, in the 2008 competition, The Mac Airbook (OS X 10.5.2) was the first to be successfully hacked into requiring all of 2 minutes. The other machines were a Sony Vaio (Linux Ubuntu 7.10) and Fujitsu U810 (Vista Ultimate).

This article is not implying Macs are less safe than other computers. Actually, no computer is safe, nor secure. The real disservice Apple is doing to the general public is trying to convince them that they do not need to be careful about security on Macs.

Media Lab Overview
LIACS Homepage
MM Conf
ACM Multimedia
Science Direct
IEEE Library
LIACS Publications
ACM Digital Library