SECURITY PATCHES FOR MACS

I’m sure this will get lots of attention in the paper tomorrow as a gesture of fairness, given all the criticism of Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer lately. But hey, perhaps you’ll be busy and miss the headline.

Apple Computer released security updates today for seventeen security holes in open source and proprietary components of the Apple operating system, including fixes for two security vulnerabilities in Apple’s web browser.

Of course, Mac aficiados are familiar with patching their Macs, after the security updates at the beginning of November, and the patch at the end of October to fix the malware that had the potential to disable Mac OS X’s built-in firewall, steal personal information or destroy data, and the patches at the beginning of October and the fifteen security holes that were patched at the beginning of September and the security update at the beginning of August.

And so on.

It’s worth repeating a summary of how things stand today.

Apple’s OS is under attack, can be broken in unanticipated ways that require patches, and Apple issues patches in a prompt and responsible way.

Microsoft’s OS is under attack, can be broken in unanticipated ways that require patches, and Microsoft issues patches in a prompt and responsible way.

Linux is under attack, can be broken in unanticipated ways that require patches, and the Linux community issues patches – well, in a fairly disorganized way that requires constant attention by users with technical skills.

There’s no obvious advantage to any OS from a security perspective, although Windows XP with Service Pack 2 currently is more secure than anything else on the market. Yes, more hackers and virus writers and adware creators target Windows than other operating systems, but measure that carefully – “security through obscurity” is not a very compelling concept when fully thought through.