Are Macs more secure than PCs?
Here in the glamorous world of design and marketing Apple Macs are industry standard. When I started at my first ad agency, I cut my teeth on a Mac, reportedly adopted by creatives because our right-side brains would find them more intuitive (and easy!) to use.
Since then Windows have caught up and creative apps such as Adobe CC, Quark etc are widely available for both machines.
But are Macs more secure?
Mac malware does exist and has been used but Apple do a good job of protecting their machines with in-built features.
There are three key arguments that answer the question:
– Malware writers are less likely to target Macs as there are less of them versus PC’s using Windows
– Apple include a variety of security measures built-in that make an attack much harder
– Mac operating system is Unix-base which offer a number of solid security measures
After the recent security outbreaks at WPP and the NHS scare back in March, why isn’t every corporation using them? It probably comes down to cost.
Here’s a brief breakdown of what Apple offer
Xprotect is Apples automatic malware scanning tool. It acts in the background and matches against a list of malicious applications and files. It is similar to common anti-virus software on sale but is standard and ships with your Mac.
Apple’s default browser Safari has two neat security features. Using anti-phishing technology it can detect fraudulent websites and will show an alert and even disable the page.
It also generates and saves strong passwords using upper and lower case characters, punctuation and numbers. They are saved in the system and can be prompted via login password.
Gatekeeper automatically scans apps downloaded from the internet. The safest way is to download from the App Store, Apple have already security checked everything on there. But if you choose to download from the internet you will get an alert which you can override if you know the download is safe.
App Sandbox isolates apps from your data and other apps. So if an app is compromised by malware the Sandbox will block the app so keeping you computer and information safe.
Filevault 2 encrypts data on the hardrive (Or external drives if selected). It protects all data with XTS-AES 128 encryption. Once done (default is off – it can be set-up in the privacy/security system preferences), user then accesses the mac using a password/key.
Find My Mac
If you lose your mac or it get’s into the wrong hands you can locate it using iCloud. Login and find it via a map, if it’s offline get an alert when it connects to wi-fi and display a message on the mac as to where to return it. You can even initiate a remote wipe so none of your personal data can be viewed.
Usernames and passwords are stored in iCloud and synched across Apple devices. Data and personal information is always protected with robust, 256-bit AES encryption.
Security & Privacy settings
Other ways to stay secure using the Security & Privacy preferences.
• Turn on a firewall to prevent other machines from accessing services running on your Mac.
• Control access to your Mac by locking your screen after a period of inactivity.
• Set up secure file sharing.
• Use Password Assistant to create stronger passwords for local utilities like Users & Groups.
• Make sure you’re only running sharing services that you really need.
Windows offer some security features too – there is a control panel to turn on firewall and to encrypt data and files. There is also a malware scanner called Windows Defender. Microsoft do suggest you also have anti-virus software.
So to summarise I would say Mac is definitely safer and more secure. There are more security features built-in and Apple appear to be more on the case, reacting quickly and updating their OS system with security patches on a regular basis.