One of the big selling points (and boasts) of users of Apple systems is that they are “immune from viruses.” At least, immune from the numerous PC viruses that seem to attack the world daily. I’ve been guilty of lording this over other people’s heads myself.
In the wake of the Flashback botnet, which targeted hundreds of thousands of Mac OS X systems in the past several months, the virus immunity claim has come up dry. As a result, a lot of us who use Apple hardware are having to learn how to become more security savvy in what was once only the problem of PC users.
Apple has done their part by removing references to being “virus free” from their website and literature, replacing phrases like “It doesn’t get PC viruses” with “It’s built to be safe.” You’ll find many of those changes in before-and-after format on the Sophos blog here.
Apple has also announced new security guides and software. The guides are for the iPhone and iPad iOS operating systems, which you can access as a PDF on the Apple site. In addition, when OS X 10.8 (aka Mountain Lion) releases, it will have a new software feature called Gatekeeper that restricts applications from being installed without user consent and privilege. This will work in a way similar to the user levels and “OK” screens that appear in Windows.
All in all, it looks like Apple is taking security seriously. Now the rest of us Mac users have to catch up.