The upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard this past weekend went very smooth. As I have mentioned in another thread, the new features are awesome! But now let's get down to the nitty gritty, this being security on Snow Leopard.
We are starting to see Mac's being exploited more and more each month, along with being used more and more by the hacker community. Why is this? Why are Mac's fulfilling 70%+ of hacker communities? "But I thought hackers use Linux, don't they?" They do indeed, but it seems that many hackers have a Linux computer running, but to there left stands a Mac.
Right now the heavy comparison of security comes between Snow Leopard and Windows 7. Windows 7 is scheduled to be released on 10/22/09 (unless you have an MSDN account). It has been stated that Windows 7 has stronger security than Snow Leopard.
Many of these security claims comes from the well respected Charlie Miller, who is the co-author of The Mac Hackers Handbook. Charlie Miller is best known for his appearance at Pwn2own hacker contest where he hacked into a fully patched MacBook using a Safari code execution attack. This kind of makes you wonder, the raved about Safari 4 browser has some significant vulnerabilities.
One of the main security patches that was FIXED, was QuickTime X. QuickTime X was rewritten by Apple to fix many security holes that were quite apparent in past version of QuickTime.
Another strong implementation into the OS was the use of DEP (data execution prevention). DEP is a memory protection scheme. DEP is used in both Windows XP SP2, Vista and Windows 7 will also have it.
As of right now, it has been stated that Snow Leopard is more secure than Leopard, but it's not as secure as Vista or Windows 7. Not as secure as Vista? Ouch!! Let's keep in mind folks, Snow Leopard just got released. The first run of patches should be rather significant and intuitive. I have confidence in Apple that they will follow through, and fill up some of these left open holes, respectively.
ZiPPy this is a great post!
Very well written and very unbiased. Lately I've had similar thoughts about Snow Leopard. I agree that the Mac OS is more secure because hackers don't target it as much and it's not as widespread as Windows, but this has already started to change. I'm worried that Apple might fall short in the security game since numerous times holes have been left open and patches took time to be released in both Leopard and Snow Leopard.
Let's hope that Apple invests more resources in security since Snow Leopard is about making things work better and not adding more bells and whistles.