Conventional wisdom — and the ranting of the “my OS is better than yours” crowd on blogsites — holds that Mac OS X is a much more secure platform than any version of Windows. I have no dog in this hunt. I mostly run Vista at home, occasionally run RedHat Linux, and I wish that I owned a Mac. I do know from my job, however, that there are frequent patches issued by Microsoft, Apple, and the various flavors of Unix and Linux and that most of the patches have to do with security. Though I have Mac envy, all I can do is laugh at the internet posts claiming that Macs have no security flaws. Every OS has security flaws. Period.
George Ou at ZDNet.com recently wrote an article that counted and categorized all of the security patches released in 2007 for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X. The results were surprising — Macs had more than 5 times the security flaws per month than Windows XP and Vista combined.
I’m not posting this because I’m a Microsoft shill. I see strengths and weaknesses in all operating systems. All systems are vulnerable but those who practice safe computing are at little risk, no matter what operating system you use.
UPDATE — 12/27/2007 5:30 PM: The article at ZDNet.com that I linked to has a number of flaws. For a different point of view, please read Vista vs Mac OS X Security: Why George Ou’s ZDNet Vulnerability Numerology is Absurd at Roughly Drafted. Note that Roughly Drafted is hyper pro-Apple and vehemently anti-Windows. Chill out, dudes — it’s an operating system, not a religion.