A few days ago, I posited a few simple reasons that Apple's Mac OS X was inherently more secure than Windows. It appears that this touched off a firestorm, with a summarization of that post garnering over 3500 diggs, and trackbacks coming in from all over the globe. It was even summarized in Portuguese.
I've been reading a few of the thousands of comments on links to that post on various sites, and have seen more than a few folks take issue with my observations and Apple in general. These statements seem to fall into a few common themes:
There are more, but let's look at these six for now.
There's definitely truth to this statement. Botnets are moneymakers, and all botnets are comprised of Windows systems. Writing code that would attempt to hijack Macs wouldn't be worth the time. But then, that's not the only way to make money from malicious code. Tons of spyware and malware are written simply to advertise to the user. Bonzi Buddy, et al, are just vehicles to land ads on the users' desktop, and there's plenty of money to be made there.
Now, let's combine this claim with the "Apple users are hipsters" and "Apple hardware costs too much". If virus writers are in it for the money, and all that money comes from advertising in one form or another, then landing malware on OS X would deliver the perfect demographic to many advertisers. If you could guarantee that young hipster, counter-culture computer users with too much money would be seeing these ads, you'd have advertisers at your door with wheelbarrows full of hundred-dollar bills. Given that fact, it must not be worth the effort required to compromise OS X, at least for now.
On the flipside to this argument, there are thousands of examples of malicious code targeting Windows systems that cannot be monetized. I'd love to know how anyone besides the anti-virus companies are making any money from the ANI vulnerabilities flying around.
I started off that post remarking about the new "virus" for iPods running linux. Enough said.