Are Macs more secure than PCs?
When it comes to marketing computers, Apple has repeatedly gone for the headline that their Macs are more secure than PCs with a Windows operating system. Security has been a deciding factor for many consumers when choosing a system, especially with the ever-growing threat from cyber crime.
The question is whether the marketing claims by Apple are valid. Are Macs more secure than PCs?
What’s the difference between a Mac and a PC?
The strategy between Apple and Microsoft is very different. The Apple operating system is designed to work on only their products, while Microsoft licences their operating system to computers made by many other companies.
This deliberate ploy by Apple suggests that having more control means you will be more secure. Of course, the disadvantage is that consumers are locked into Apple’s security and privacy measures with no options to make other choices regarding their protection.
One frustration with Apple, voiced by Digital Trends, is that while it claims to value the privacy of its users, it still collects a significant amount of data from its Apps. Apple has made this deliberate choice to harvest private data despite concerns.
Windows also comes into criticism in this area. Windows 10 enables the collection of telemetry data by default. The tracking will involve your search history, browsing history, location and scripts of Cortana interactions.
Microsoft claims to have taken enormous steps to protect privacy, but it is impossible to have complete protection even with all privacy settings turned on.
There is a difference between the diagnostic data collected by Apple and Windows. Windows collects data for diagnostic reasons and is not always transparent enough. As the information is managed remotely, it leaves users at risk of hacking while it is on route.
Apple stores its diagnostic data locally, reducing the risk of hacking. It would seem to be a win for Apple as the encryption and management at the local level leaves data far more secure.
Where data is sent centrally, Apple maintains your privacy while Windows sends it along with your account details.
Apple does seem to win the privacy side of security, but this is an ever changing landscape as Windows seeks to make changes. Cybersecurity experts believe that neither company is doing enough to secure user privacy.
Why do hackers target PCs?
It does appear that PCs are more at risk of being hacked. However, rather than being less secure, this is explained easily by the sheer market share of users.
In 2021 Windows accounted for 88% of the market, with Mac having only 10%. This high market share means it is financially more beneficial for cybercriminals to target Windows PCs as malware campaigns and phishing will reach significantly more people.
Macs are not less vulnerable because they are more secure. There are simply fewer of them to be worth targeting.
Vulnerability of Macs and PCs
Kaspersky Lab, specialists in computer security, say that both PCs and Macs are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Vulnerability is demonstrated by the stats that show as Mac increases its share of the market, the number of attacks also rises.
Can Macs get viruses?
While fewer malware programs target Macs, research shows that 700,000 Mac users were the victims of the Flashback Trojan. This evidence shows that Macs are not infallible or virus-free.
Are Macs’ security systems secure?
The main security feature in the macOS is the Gatekeeper. When tested, it was found that it was possible to bypass this security and install malware.
Are Macs immune to phishing?
Just like a Windows PC, if a Mac user clicks on a suspicious link in an email or downloads an unsafe attachment, malware can be installed on the computer.
What are the main security risks on a Mac?
Whilst macOS uses Unix, which is marginally less exploitable than Windows, there are still some main security risks that criminals can abuse. Businesses must ensure that their staff are well educated in protecting their computers and data from being misused.
Even though a Mac may be less targeted than a PC, it is still possible for a Mac user to open a suspicious link, download a risky attachment or unwittingly install malware. It is essential for all computer users not to become complacent and rely on software to keep malware at bay.
It is far better for users to educate themselves on the different risks and ensure they use their knowledge to prevent phishing or malware from becoming a problem.
Users of Macs must be as alert as Windows users to keep their hardware safe. Once stolen or lost, the computer will be vulnerable if a sufficiently secure password system is not in place. Data should be backed up and secure, particularly if GDPR is to be followed correctly.
How can you improve your computer security?
Even though Windows computers are more popular, there is nothing to stop a business from using Macs, even in business settings. Whichever system your company chooses, it is worth ensuring that you have specific protocols in place to improve your security.
Install Anti-Virus Software
There are vast choices of anti-virus software for Windows, many of which have become household names. For Macs, the names may be less known, but you can look at Webroot or ESET as a minimum requirement.
Always do Your Software Updates
Software updates usually include the latest security settings. Failing to keep on top of the updates can put your computer at risk. It can be inconvenient but ensure staff know how to set downloads for a particular time, so they are not ignored.
Whether you use Windows or Macs, you should take responsibility for ensuring that staff have the appropriate training to help them identify the possible risks such as phishing and malware. Ensure that your team is not complacent when using Apple products.
Use an IT Partner
Please take advantage of managed services from a specialist IT company. You can ensure that you are getting the latest protection from software updates and anti-virus software, along with keeping your IT infrastructure working at an optimum level.
At Techfident, we offer a range of services to support our customers with developing dynamic and secure solutions for businesses. We can help with consultation, supply and support to ensure your business gets the best out of their technology solutions and is protected from cybercrime.