Eugene Kaspersky, the man behind Kaspersky Lab, which is also the company responsible for one of the more successful malware, antivirus, and security bundles on the Internet, has taken a moment out of his schedule to appear at the Info Security 2012 conference. In an interview with Computer Business Review, Kaspersky came right out and said exactly what we thought he would:
[quote]I think [Apple is] ten years behind Microsoft in terms of security … For many years I’ve been saying that from a security point of view there is no big difference between Mac and Windows … Apple is now entering the same world as Microsoft has been in for more than 10 years: updates, security patches and so on,” he added. “We now expect to see more and more because cyber criminals learn from success and this was the first successful one.[/quote]
The problem is, this is nothing new for Apple, who is often praised for getting out in front of security problems quicker than competitors. According to Apple’s website, the company shipped 40 security based updates in 2011, another 34 in 2009, and 35 in 2008. This year, just four months in, Apple has shipped just 8 updates, well under pace from last year’s numbers. Taking this even further into the past, 23 software updates were shipped in 2005, 22 in 2006, and 38 in 2007. Obviously last year saw Apple ship the most software updates in a calendar year, but year over year, the growth hasn’t been all that tremendous. This year, barring any crazy malware problems, Apple is actually on pace to ship its lowest number of security patches since 2006.
Again, we know OS X isn’t this mythical impenetrable fortress that a lot of idiots claim it to be these days, but sound practices and precautions are great ways to steer clear of many future problems. Unless there’s an antivirus bundle that removes the stupid from consumer behavior, including the penchant for opening up unknown Word documents, there’s very little anyone can do to protect them. Antivirus bundles can’t protect anyone from future malware problems, just problems of the past.
Apple may be behind Microsoft in the security game like Kaspersky claims, but it’s far from the doom and gloom picture that he’s painting. Actually, Antivirus software is the epitome of giving a man a fish instead of teaching him how to fish for himself. Maybe these antivirus companies should do a better job of educating their customers about sound online practices instead of encouraging them to rely on a piece or software to protect themselves. Just saying.