War of the Windows

BBC News: Web perils advise switch to Macs.

Security threats to PCs with Microsoft Windows have increased so much that computer users should consider using a Mac, says a leading security firm.

Sophos security said that the 10 most commonly found pieces of malicious software all targeted Windows machines. In contrast, it said, none of the "malware" were capable of infecting the Mac OS X operating system.

Microsoft has pledged that the latest version of its operating system, known as Vista, will be its most secure yet. "and confidence they need so they can continue to get the most out of their PCs," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Windows Vista contains a number of new safety features that, taken together, are designed to make Windows PCs more secure and online experiences safer." Microsoft said that security on Vista would be an integral part of the operating system rather than an add-on like in previous systems.

Macs have security by obscurity, once Mac users hit critical mass, they would be targeted by the mindless hooligans who churn out malicious programs. Turn the firewall on, update the virus software, don’t open email from strangers promising unlikely things, don’t run programs unless you know exactly where they came from, and set your email program and browser on "paranoid" for the security settings.

I hope Vista has better security than previous Microsoft operating systems. The kerfuffle over the poor accuracy of the anti-piracy tool (WGA, WIndows Genuine Advantage, installed as a critical update) does not bode well. WGA also punishes the end user for the sins of the seller, and heaven help you if you’ve upgraded your hardware.