How does IT manage security when it can manage only a few of the devices connecting to the most valuable data? How long until we have our first XML-written virus or worm? If someone compromises my worldwide, biometric ID, how do I repudiate everywhere it might be used and how can I use something else? For example, if my logon is my fingerprint or face, and the attackers steal my authentication token and fake being me, how can I get it back? What will I use instead?
Users, too, remain a huge security threat, regardless of what OS they're running. People remain susceptible to sophisticated phishing and social engineering attacks that dupe them into giving up their credentials, for example. They continue to install programs they shouldn't on their machines, allowing hackers an opportunity to pounce.
Heck, my own kids have a verifiable computer security expert in their house, yet they couldn't care less about computer security in their daily lives. They haven't changed their Facebook or online banking passwords since they set them -- again, they're leaving themselves susceptible to attacks regardless of what platform they might be using.
So when I'm asked if Microsoft or Apple's security is better than the other, it's not a question even worth answering. Overall, computer security is pretty bad. Nearly any company can be hacked, with just a little research and know-how. Fake malicious programs still abound. Antivirus software is struggling like never before. Most people have had their identity and credit card information compromised several times over the last few years. Most people have had their computers infected over the same period.
Our computer security paradigm is shifting in a huge way before our eyes and we're not using our best defenses while we argue over the relative minutiae of the competing platforms' relative security. Meanwhile, we're taking casualties with more to come -- all the while wondering why our current strategy doesn't work.
It reminds me of the English redcoat soldiers sent to the United States to take it back under control from the treasonous terrorists (we now call them the founding fathers and patriots). The redcoats kept lining up in the same parallel lines that had been successful for a millennium, and they kept that strategy until the bitter end. The war changed around them and they didn't notice in time. Will we?
This story, "No contest: Mac vs. Windows security," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest developments in network security and read more of Roger Grimes's Security Adviser blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.