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Hacker: Windows More Secure Than Mac OS X

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments
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Hackers just like the PC more.

Regardless of which side you're on (though as a true computing enthusiast, you shouldn't be taking sides), you've heard the arguments back and forth on the which operating system is truly safer – Mac OS X or Windows.

It is of the opinion of Charlie Miller, a well known Mac security guru, that even Snow Leopard, the latest version of Mac OS X, isn't as safe as Windows.

One key point is that Snow Leopard still doesn't have ASLR, or address space layout randomization, which randomly arranges the position of key data making it harder for hackers to target for exploits.

Miller said to TechWorld that Apple didn't change the ASLR from 10.5 to 10.6: "Apple didn't change anything. It's the exact same ASLR as in Leopard, which means it's not very good."

Apple didn’t completely missed the chance to tighten up security in Snow Leopard though, as the new QuickTime solves a lot of the issues that Mac OS X had before.

"Apple rewrote a bunch of QuickTime," said Miller, "which was really smart, since it's been the source of lots of bugs in the past."

One thing that Snow Leopard did adapt, which Windows has had since XP SP2, is DEP (data execution prevention). With DEP, buffer overflow attacks are much harder to execute.

Despite Miller's opinion that Windows is the more secure OS, the large install based of Microsoft-based systems make them a much more attractive target for hackers. Still, Miller would like to see security on all platforms.

"Snow Leopard's more secure than Leopard, but it's not as secure as Vista or Windows 7," he said. "When Apple has both [in place], that's when I'll stop complaining about Apple's security."

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  • 0 Hide
    broken_sticks , 22 September 2009 15:09
    as you say, the very fact that hackers target microsoft with such tenacity makes windows less secure imo
  • 0 Hide
    Vampyrbyte , 22 September 2009 15:38
    If anything it makes it more secure. as more methods of intrusion will have been tried, tested and fixed.
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 22 September 2009 16:59
    So many typos...
  • Display all 9 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Zurtex , 22 September 2009 18:52
    If a security flaw is never exploited, is it really a security flaw?

    *tries clapping with 1 hand*
  • 1 Hide
    Clintonio , 22 September 2009 19:05
    If a bucket has a hole in it, but you never put water in it, doesn't make the bucket any better as a bucket. Windows would be a bucket that has holes in, but someone is always trying to patch them up.
  • 0 Hide
    swamprat , 22 September 2009 19:23
    Given people in the US seem to be granted patents for daft things like unoriginal designs for webpages, how come there's not a huge IP issue over using specific methods to improve security?
  • 0 Hide
    Dandalf , 23 September 2009 01:56
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    ukgooey , 23 September 2009 02:17
    broken_sticksas you say, the very fact that hackers target microsoft with such tenacity makes windows less secure imo

    Do you mean less secure, or do you mean more likely to be compromised?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 29 September 2009 17:10
    LOL, your article translated in Romanian appeared in one crappy local online news site. No source mentioned of course: