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Security Comparison: Apple's Mac OS X vs Microsoft's Windows

Regardless of which side of the PC/Mac divide you land on, your system’s security is paramount. Many continue to argue for or against either system in terms of how secure they are against different threats. Lets break it down and see how each side stacks up.

5. Security software

Both operating systems have built-in security software, with Apple’s OS X proving ultimately the more robust by design. This is largely because Windows has a far larger customer base making more prudent for virus developers to build their programs to target Windows machines than Macs. You should always boost your protection - antivirus software like Norton, Kaspersky and BitDefender is readily available for both. Choosing and maintaining the right security software can be a bit daunting which is why there are plenty of IT support and security companies like Keyspace Australia that can do all the work for you.

4. Hacking

Truthfully, you are at far greater risk of having personal information hacked on a Windows machine than you are on a Mac, even if the Windows machine is well-protected. Whether you’re on Mac or Windows, you should always be careful about where you store your data. If recent events have shown us anything it’s that, despite Apple’s insistence to the contrary, it would seem that even iCloud isn’t safe from especially determined sociopaths. Change up your password - don’t use anything easily guessable or any variation on “01, 02, 03” and so forth.

3. Malware

These next three points really go hand-in-hand. Neither the Mac nor the PC is immune to malware - neither system has any real software in place to stop an intrusion. The best defence is to make sure that your security software is up to date and can detect malware intrusions. Malware can come from any number of sources, but its primary goal is quietly insert itself into your computer system, gain access to your files and gather sensitive information.

2. Viruses

Viruses are far less prevalent on a Mac than Windows, but they can still wreak havoc on any system unfortunate enough to contract one. Viruses are very similar to malware but their effects can be far more catastrophic. Viruses can infect every part of the system and begin to damage the files that the operating system needs to function.

1. Areas of greatest risk

The web browser is one major route for viruses and malware to find their way into your PC or Mac. It doesn’t matter which one you’re using, be it Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox or Chrome - they are all equally susceptible and it only takes one visit to a compromised site for infection to start. Taking standard precautions and utilising a sophisticated security suite will protect your browser and keep your system safer. Another infection vector is through applications like Bit Torrent.

Overall, the Mac definitely trumps Windows in terms of built in security. Mac intrusions are less common as they are harder to get into and have a smaller user base than Windows. This is still no substitute for a good security software package though. Whichever system you choose - it definitely pays to be protected.

What’s your favourite security software? How do you rate Windows vs. Mac? Sound off in the comments below!