At least for now. The sad part of this is that attack presentations at Black Hat tend to be prophetic. The protection Mac users have enjoyed from flying under the radar is coming to an end. Apple computers and devices are increasingly under attack, and Trojans and worms targeting Mac OS X and iOS have been pouring out of the cyber woodwork. Whenever I get on an airplane, I can't help but notice how many Macs and iPads are traveling first class. I routinely see them in the hands of IT security officers and C-level executives. And hackers are noticing this too.
[ Windows 7 is making huge inroads into business IT. But with it comes new security threats and security methods. InfoWorld's expert contributors show you how to secure the new OS in the "Windows 7 Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]
So if you're the user of an Apple product -- and who isn't? -- it's time to think like a Windows user and make sure you do all of the regular things it takes to keep a computer secure. That means using strong passwords (and separate passwords for system, network, Facebook, and so on), installing patches as frequently as they're released, not getting fooled into clicking links that you shouldn't, watching out for lookalike websites and phishing attempts, and not installing software that you don't trust 100 percent.
I do expect Apple to provide better security and more secure defaults. The days when Apple could treat security as an afterthought while raking in billions of dollars reminds me of Microsoft in 1999 -- you know, the year Gartner recommended that people not buy IIS because it was being exploited too often.
It's taken Microsoft 10 years to turn security from a weakness into a strength. Apple can use the lessons learned by Microsoft to manage a quick turnaround. Apple has already hired one of Microsoft's former security leaders, Window Snyder, and it has adopted a modified form of Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle programming practices. Apple has the benefit of seeing how Microsoft fixed its past mistakes.
Take the network protocol vulnerability exposed at Black Hat (PDF), for example, which relies on forcing Macs to use an earlier, less secure protocol. Microsoft had that problem, too, 10 years ago, and fixed it by disabling authentication protocol fallback as a default. It took Microsoft awhile to get that solution implemented. Apple could do it in a single patch.
This article, "Apple security under attack: The view from Windows," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.