For two weeks, I was having a heated discussion with some diehard Mac-only fans in a stock forum. It was one of those self-perpetuating, boring Windows-versus-Mac flame wars, where neither side ends up believing the other. Each side sincerely believes their platform is better and destined to rule the world.
My main debate with the Mac-only fans is over Mac's true security. See, I know that Macs are attacked less than Windows because they are less popular. Pure and simple. Macs contain no special, secret security sauce that makes them more attack-resistant than Windows Vista (which was released in November 2006). Macs and OS X do not contain a single computer defense mechanism that the competitors do not already have or haven't had longer.
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If anything, Macs have more known vulnerabilities -- by far -- than Windows and are often patched slower. You can check any independent security vulnerability database you like to see the figures behind my statement, but Secunia has been my favorite for a long time.
Mac-only fans rightfully point out that Windows is successfully attacked thousands of times more than Macs. This is true, which translates to lower overall security risk against generalized, nontargeted attacks. I can't argue with that.
But my contention is that Mac's relatively safety is due to its status as a minority player; if the platform gained significant market share, it would be successfully attacked just as much as Windows Vista or at least in proportion to their growing popularity. The same could be said of any platform out there that hasn't earned as much market share as a more popular rival. Whatever is most popular is successfully attacked the most. If criminals want to make the most money possible, they go after what is popular. I call this theory Roger's Hacking Popularity Corollary.
I should note that although I work full-time for Microsoft and I love Windows 7, I also love my OpenBSD and Ubuntu machines at home. In addition, I support two iMacs for my daughters at college. I don't think one platform is good and another evil. I think all the OSes have their benefits and best uses. The AS/400 midrange platform that I've spent 20 years on may be a text-prompt, keyword-loving darling, but it crunches numbers faster than any PC platform.