Apple vs. Microsoft Patch Management - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Apple vs. Microsoft Patch Management

I keep hearing people mention how Apple OS X is more secure and Windows is not. Reading it often here, in fact. There is an interesting article on the subject: http://www.serverwatch.com/trends/ar...-Opposites.htm

TL;DR: users think that Apple is more secure because Apple is extremely secretive about OS X vulnerabilities and sneaks the updates in without publicly acknowledging them whereas Microsoft openly tells about the problems they have and releases fixes publicly / on schedule (patch Tuesday).

Granted, there is a problem with MS approach as well - it lets hackers exploit the openly available patch release schedule. However... take a look a the statistics on number of vulnerabilities posted in the comments (supposedly, from secunia.com but I didn't check myself):

OS Comparison - 2010 (Jan- June 2010)
Windows XP - 27 vulns
Windows Vista - 36
Windows 7 - 22 (28 all-time)
Red Hat Desktop 4.x - 71 (in 3 months)
OS X - 132

I'm not trying to convince anyone to abandon Apple / move to Windows. I know it's a great OS and has great advantages. I simply would like to point out the fact that Apple effectively dupes the user base making them think they are secure. They are not and sooner or later there will be a blowback.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 01:43 AM
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The numbers are slightly misleading if you do not look at each 'vulnerability' and know exactly WTF they are and how to exploit them to determine the real risk to your system. For example, since OSX does draw a lot from open source for specific binaries, an 'exploit' on a particular program which allows a 'local users' to potentially gain 'root access' is really not considered anything to worry about on an apple laptop because.. um, duh.. YOU are the only one on the machine in most cases (not running it as a server).. but it +1s the vulnerability count but is really no threat to you, the end users.

Apple does get too cocky in toughing their 'security' though... as nothing that processes 1's and 0's can be considered 'secure'.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 01:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
The numbers are slightly misleading if you do not look at each 'vulnerability' and know exactly WTF they are and how to exploit them to determine the real risk to your system. For example, since OSX does draw a lot from open source for specific binaries, an 'exploit' on a particular program which allows a 'local users' to potentially gain 'root access' is really not considered anything to worry about on an apple laptop because.. um, duh.. YOU are the only one on the machine in most cases (not running it as a server).. but it +1s the vulnerability count but is really no threat to you, the end users.

Apple does get too cocky in toughing their 'security' though... as nothing that processes 1's and 0's can be considered 'secure'.
True. I don't mean to say it's all bad in Apple land. My point is that what Apple is doing is a cunning PR strategy. Microsoft would be burned on the stake for hiding their vulnerabilities. Apple created the hip "holier than thou" image that lets them get away with it, and they are exploiting it. When users see Windows install a bunch of updates they go "oh, Windows is so insecure, my OS X almost never needs updates, it's secure out of the box".

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 02:09 AM
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OSX has had regular security updates weekly/bi-weekly due to the rapid pace the open source counterparts are updated/fixed.. I'd rather have the updates sooner rather than later...

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 04:59 AM
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To Apple's defense part of the 'more secure' misnomer is propagated by the general user base and not just marketing-hype. Apple did 'run with it' in their marketing content but I don't believe it was born out of marketing.

But this thread is useless anyways as the Open Source, Apple, and MS fan boys all rarely discuss this with an open mind. It is a good point though, it will just be lost on most people.

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